Last May, this blog published my essay against building a Death Star. And, not to brag, but at the time I thought we had saved trillions* of lives. With the help of re-posts by Wonkblog, Gizmodo, and legions of social media warriors, the Monkey Cage squelched any thoughts of building a Death Star and saved the lives of countless planets.
Imagine my shock, then, to hear that a petition to the White House had received the 25,000 signatures it needed to force an official response from the White House. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
This cannot be ignored. I urge every Monkey Cage reader to sign this White House petition to:
ban the development or deployment of a Death Star, or any other moon-sized space station capable of destroying a planet.
Allow me to recapitulate the case against a Death Star:
1) Compared to more discrete alternatives, the Death Star is an inefficient strategy for subduing the population and elites of the galaxy.
2) The money and materials used to build the Death Star would be put to better use upgrading the conventional weapons of the Imperial army.
In the current budgetary environment, the second point is especially important. As we all know, the 2011 debt limit agreement included mandatory reductions in defense spending—the “sequester”—starting in fiscal year 2013. The Department of Defense budget is slated to decrease by $259.4 billion. And yet the advocates for a new Death Star plan to launch it in the midst of this austerity despite its$85.2 quintillion price tag.
Perhaps you are wondering, is an anti-Death Star petition really necessary? Surely the Obama administration will treat the pro-Death Star petition like it’s some sort of joke, even if it means enduring criticism that it is “soft on Alderaan.” Perhaps. But having destroyed the argument for the Death Star once, I was surprised to find that the pro-Death Star forces had moved to in another venue, displacing the local population and threatening the galaxy. I fear they will continue to keep trying until the federal government sets a clear no-Death Star policy.
So please, sign the petition. The planet you save may be your own.
*My best guess, pending CBO scoring.