Yana Djin Essays

A Success That Failed

Moscow News
August, 2001

When Clinton transferred his presidential gloves to the less savvy George W, he left several controversial issues unresolved. One of those issues -- the stem cell research -- has been widely discussed by the media ever since the current leader announced recently that he is about to make a decision on the subject. Dubya took several weeks to do what is customarily unthinkable for him: ponder. The result of the pondering was nothing unpredictable: just a few days ago, he let America know that he discussed the matter with his “buddy and life partner”, Jesus, and the latter advised him not to allow scientists to harvest new cells for medical research. Bush said he took the middle-of -the-road attitude, reminiscent of George Sr, and “stuck with Jesus”.

He also conceded that he talks to the Son of God on a daily basis. Apparently, it is a one-way conversation. Otherwise, Jesus would have informed the “first rancher” that “middle-of-the-road” was not the attitude that made him famous and that he rebelled against his own Father in more ways than one. But be that as it may, Bush has another controversial decision to make and I strongly suspect that he is not going to solicit the Messiah as his prime advisor if only because he has already made the decision.

The primary consultant in this case is a bit more militaristic than the “overused” Savior. It is the Pentagon and the issue at hand is National Missile Defense program. Even though the former president Clinton was not particularly squeamish, judging by the women he chose to bed, he was ever-evasive on NMD matter and as the present leader of the free world eloquently pointed out “wouldn’t touch it with the ten foot pole”. Bush, on the other hand, is ready to climb into the heart of it on all fours and the Pentagon is definitely urging him to do precisely that.

Unlike the bleary Democrats, the Republican administration is definitely clear-cut on pursuing the Missile Defense program which, they estimate, should be completed by the end of the year 2003. The opponents of the program argue that if America plunges into it, the revival of an arms race is almost inevitable. Moreover, it would nullify the 1972 ABM treaty which the United States signed with the Soviet Union. And, most importantly, it would totally disrupt the balance of power in the world, making the US a sole superpower which can look upon the rest of the world as its own trash yard. In other words, it would make America even more American!

Needless to say, that is not a particularly pleasant scenario from the international standpoint. The local patriots, nevertheless, are rather pleased with the prospect and along with President Bush are “sold on the idea”, even though the government would have to dig into their pockets in order to fund the program. And, mind you, it is not inexpensive: 60 billion dollars.

A recent survey indicated that 65 per cent of Americans are backing George W Bush and the Pentagon to go ahead and launch the costly operation. How ironic -- how tragic, in fact -- that the same nation which holds unborn fetuses and stem cells holy and untouchable is morally ready and willing to have the power of world destruction in its hand!

Fortunately for the some, less warlike of us, the launching of the NMD program may not be as easy as our zealous president wishes it to be. In fact, scientific experts are suggesting that the existing technology is not sufficient to make the program a success and the prospective deadline of 2003 is nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of the conservative right. The Bush administration, however, is relentless in its pursuit of the “noble” project. On an international level, they are assuring Europe -- Russia especially -- that even though the Missile Defense Initiative would leave them helpless against the military might of the US, America would never consider using that might to its advantage. The only reason for development of the NMD, they argue, is in case one of the “rogue” countries, as Americans refer to any state that is not entirely to their taste, decides to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. That, naturally, is extremely unlikely to happen, and judging from history, it is none other than Americans who can’t resist the temptation to push the button. I think, Hiroshima and Nagasaki speak for themselves.

On the domestic, scene, the government is assuring the patriotic taxpayers that their money is not going to waste and that the scientific experts are being unnecessarily pessimistic about the current technical capabilities. Last month, Pentagon conducted a National Missile Defense Test and proclaimed it to be a success much to the happiness of the current, enthusiastic administration. That enthusiasm, however, had to be somewhat curbed upon further investigation which revealed that the Pentagon officials either blatantly lied to the public or, like their commander in chief, they are not too familiar with the English language and don’t know the difference between success and failure.

Pentagon officials reluctantly acknowledged that the test was staged. A prototype interceptor was able to find a target warhead because the target signaled its location to the interceptor for the duration of the flight and the transmission formed the basis of the targeting orders. A real warfare scenario, the Pentagon blushed, would rely solely upon radar tracking rather than the helpfully pre-arranged GPS beacon. Moreover, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Philip Coyle testified before the Senate that the “early test results to date, including the latest flight intercept test do not justify the Bush administration decision to deploy an operational system in Alaska”. He also added that the missile-detecting umbrella envisioned in Pentagon briefings to promote NMD is a “practical impossibility”. So, not everything is hopeless, indeed, as long as NMD stays an impossibility. In the meantime, though, let us not get too depressed about the concentration of hypocrisy and stupidity in this country which allows for shelling out of big bucks for the program of human annihilation and deems a further scientific research of stem cells which might actually save lives , to be illegal. Only in America!


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