Norfolk, Virginia--Costing over $6 billion before all the other fittings and aircraft, the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush was not applauded as it was commissioned today in the presence of its namesake, his mentally retarded son and his family, President Dick Cheney, and the largest gathering of Village People fans in human history.
The gathered dignitaries were applauding themselves and the fact that they were still bilking the American public for defense contractors and corporations everywhere, their latest contribution coming in the form of a now-obsolete weapons platform, the aircraft carrier.
Why is the aircraft carrier obsolete? The U.S.S. George H.W. Bush is the last of ten in the "Nimitz" "supercarrier" class, the kind of hulking behemoth that was rendered useless the moment the Enola Gay dropped its payload on Hiroshima to keep Soviet influence off of the Japanese mainland. Subsequent weapons platforms have made the obsolescence of the aircraft carrier a strange part of the arsenals of many nations, but it's good for the gander. Like the former president it's named after, the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush is part of a dying order, a hangover left to us from the WWII generation.
What's so remarkable is that the ship isn't even finished, but far be it for the Bush dynasty not to have an occasion to cry for themselves, never mind their victims. All that said, naming a boat after just one more executive war criminal and systematic human rights violator doesn't seem such a bad idea, since it's emblematic of the dead-end of a militarized society and economy. War and the unleashing of violence by the Bush dynasty have been its hallmarks, it's history, and a big part of America's history in general. Naming it after a washed-up warmonger with his draft-dodging son present in his last days as president has all the airs of reality parodying itself. How Bush of them.
When the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush is finally torpedoed, sunk by a low-yield nuclear device, or simply destroyed when it's anchored in port, nobody's going to care. When there's no more money to help the American public in an unprecedented economic crisis, it's going to be because of the frivolous spending on worthless weapons systems like this one, and the wars in the Middle East.
It would behoove the incoming president-elect to shutter these types of programs that are currently in the developmental stage, such as the longstanding "Star Wars" (aka "Missile Defense Shield Part I") space defense program that scientists have told us "does not work, and will never work" for over twenty years. The Star Wars program has cost an estimated $107 billion since the 1980s, just one more gift from Ronald Reagan and his cohorts, many of whom will be leaving and entering the White House after January 20, 2009.
The Bush II administration increased spending on the Star Wars program by 20% during its tenure. It's unlikely that a President Barack Obama will end the program--or others like it--however, because nothing succeeds like failure. But, with money running as short as it's appearing to be, he and Congress might have no other alternative. The Senate can enable all it wants, and the GOP incumbents in it can obstruct all they want, but eventually that wall called reality is going to rear its ugly head. The horse and pony show will be over. That time is coming very soon.
"Opinion: The First Cut is the Deepest," The Harvard Crimson, Dylan R. Matthews, 12.03.2008: