While the Obama Administration has commenced a third war in Libya and is spending billions every week in military operations from Kabul to Tripoli, it is shutting down various domestic programs for lack of funds. The latest is the Allen Telescope Array — a large number of small satellite dishes that search for extraterrestrial life in Northern California. The prohibitive cost? $1.5 million dollars a year (an additional $1 million is used on data collection and analysis). In the meantime, the Administration is refusing to yield to the latest Afghan official insisting that the country does not want or need U.S. troops and yet another case of an Afghan soldier killing U.S. personnel — this time eight U.S. soldiers and one contractor killed by one of our allies.
Astronomers at the SETI Institute have been told that the United States can simply not afford the $1.5 million needed to continue their scientific work. The team had isolated 50 or 60 of those planets that looked promising for signs of life. The 42 radio dishes will now be turned off.
Putting aside this one project, we will be seeing an array of scientific and medical projects axed while the Administration continues to gush billions in these wars. The logical disconnect is appalling. Because our leaders do not want to take responsibility to end these wars, we will continue deny citizens and students important programs, including scientific programs that could be vital in future medical or scientific advances.
I have always been doubtful of the long-term positive impact of our involvement in these countries. Indeed, we appear to have succeeded in alienating or angering large populations in not just these countries but countries like Pakistan. The lasting impact is likely to be the termination of programs that offer future promise in the training of students and professionals as well as needed research. The only thing clearly protected are the careers of politicians who lack of the backbone to admit that wars like Iraq were a terrible mistake and should be ended before we cut further into domestic programs.
Source: Scientific American