Huntsville Pork

Today's NY Times has a detailed story on the missile defense initiative which is worth the read. It seems that when Clinton became president the Star Wars program was threatened with budget cuts and Lt. General Jay Garner, then in charge of the program, told his employees: “If the money does not end up in the palm and you need it, the only other place you can go to get it is the Congress.” As federal employees they were not supposed to lobby anyone.

One employee, Michael Cantrell, took this advice to heart and got very good at lobbying - as the continued survival of this utterly useless and ineffectual program proves.

One thing led to another and Mr. Cantrell and others eventually met at Ronald Reagan Airport in DC where they decided:

“The contractors are making a killing, The lobbyists are getting their fees, and the contractors and lobbyists are writing out campaign checks to the politicians. Everybody is making money here — except us.”

The story in the Times is about how their selfless service to their country came to be rewarded.

Now Wonks Anonymous would be slightly less angry about this colossal waste of taxpayer money if it involved something relatively harmless like building useless highways in Alaska. The cult of missile defense is not nearly as harmless since it requires us to act as if we are really using the systems for which we have paid so dearly. This involves deploying them in places where they necessarily provoke the anger of Russia, a nation that may well become the world's other superpower.


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