Columbia Shuttle Military Weapon

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Wed Feb 5 08:40:12 MST 2003

>>Then, dear Jose also published a useless list of the
last 20 missions and assured us in the best of
languages appropriately assigned to space experts that
only one, only one of those missions was of a military
purpose.  Privy of undisclosed secrets of state, he is
here re assuring us: these were scientific experiments
and missions, we should honor those smart assholes who
are sent up there to make our science and lives

"Dear Jose" published the "useless" list of the last 20 missions motivated
by this exchange:

>STS 107 was a serious scientific research expedition.

>Really? Then most experts not at the service of the
>Bush administration that evaluated the last 50 or so
>missions of the Shuttle as 90% for military purposes
>are wrong.

The list I published showed quite convincingly to me that the claim that 90%
of the last "50 or so" missions of the shuttle was for military purposes is
false. Now we are told that, in essence, the real nature of the missions are
"undisclosed secrets of state" and I've been taken in by government cover
stories. Perhaps.

However, for that to be true, you would need to posit that this conspiracy
is one that involves tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, and that
not a single one has broken ranks, not even those engineers who've gone to
Congress and the press to criticize the shuttle program as a whole as a
boondoggle. You'd have to posit that among those privvy to at least part of
the secrets are quite a few cosmonauts from Russia and astronauts from
Europe, their mission planners and trainers in their home countries and the
people they respond to. That NASA TV --which is usually live from the
shuttle or in the mission control room during flights-- and is broadcast
from a satellite unencrypted, carried continuously by many cable systems,
and streamed on the internet by various sites, is so artfully orchestrated
that no one has ever let slip any tell-tale reference or comment or picture
onto the air.

Absent evidence to back it up, this is just not credible. If major military
missions were involved, much more likely what you'd hear is a terse
announcement the shuttle launched on a mission to deploy Pentagon
communications satellites and an equally terse announcement they had
returned and nothing else. That's the way they did it when the Pentagon was
relying on the shuttle fleet for lifts to orbit.

After all, although it offers very few details, the US military makes no
secret of the fact that it has its own quite expansive space program. The
amdinistration has made no secret of its plans to deploy a star wars
defense. Why go through all these shennanigans and playing hide and seek
when a simple statement that this is just one more of the scores of secret
military launches of the past decade or two would suffice?

In another post I've presented what I believe is the real explanation for
the existence and continuing role of the shuttle. Basically, it was a story
NASA admnistrators and the politicians above them talked themselves into
based on a need they felt to keep people centrally involved in space
exploration, essentially for PR/political purposes. Originally the shuttle
would do everything; after challenger, its role was restricted to scientific
missions. The priorities for investigations carried out have been skewed by
the need to justify human staffing, and exploration of alternative ways of
doing many of the same investigations without human operators have been cut
off as a result, all sorts of less than optimal decisions have been made
essentially because of an extremely strong institutional/political bias for
doing things with people on board these specific vehicles. Pork barrel
politicking has also played a role, including favoring government high-tech
military contractors who saw their business cut back as a result of the
slowdown in post-Cold War military spending. But that is one thing, it is
quite another to assert these were people on a strictly military mission or
a mission that was primarily or overwhelmingly military in character.

I've challenged you and those who think several times to present evidence to
back up your statements. Instead, you keep trying to shift the terms of the
debate, and add ever more fantastic assertions to your collection of
unsupported declarations.

The way to refute my list that shows that 19 out of the 20 most recent
missions appear to be mostly non-military missions is obvious -- come out
with the testimony of "most experts not at the service of the Bush
administration" and their arguments that show that "the last 50 or so
missions of the shuttle are 90% for military purposes."

Again, I believe these "most experts" and their statements do not exist. I
believe you and those who think like you conjured them up out of thin air to
try to justify an ultraleft, "more revolutionary than thou" stance *typical*
of  Trotskyist sectarians (but  not only) in face of the Columbia tragedy.
When you were challenged on it, you tried to bluff your way out of it.

By making this charge, I've now given you the opportunity to prove me
wrong -- with devastating effect. All you need to do is to trot out the
evidence or statements or pointers where they can be found on the Internet.
Then my ignorance, adaptation to imperialism and all the rest of it will be
laid bare for all to see. IF you have the evidence, I don't see how you
would be able to resist letting me have a double barrell dose.


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