To the Editor:
It doesn't seem possible that our national priorities--the relative importance of how we spend our tax dollars--could be so completely skewed. Tens of millions of our people are hungry, are ill-housed and are without adequate health care. It is not as though we do not collect enough tax dollars to feed, house and care for all our people. We most certainly do. All we must do is transfer funds from those dedicated to those defense and space projects, that serve no purpose other than to reward the contractors engaged in such projects, to serve our needy people.
Our Defense Department spends billions, if not trillions, of dollars fighting previous wars instead of today's wars and preserving a ridiculously oversized atomic arsenal. President Eisenhower's warning against the industrial-military complex was never more pertinent than today. The extreme is when, fairly recently, Congress mandated purchase of aircraft engines that the military didn't need or want. The norm has been Defense investing in aircraft carriers, tanks, rockets that bear little relevance in defending against terrorist attacks representative of warfare today.
Man in space is a program that contributes absolutely nothing to scientific knowledge or serious preparation for the future. The original landing on the moon, followed by the space station, demonstrated our capabilities but added nothing to the information provided by orbiting drones. The same can be said about a program to send a man to Mars. For the past three years we have had unmanned aircraft orbiting Mars. They have provided maps of the surface and analyses of the subsurface of this planet. What in the world can a human being add to this after having landed from a space ship and delivered the pithy sentence prepared for him by prestigious PR firms to report his arrival? The invaluable scientific outfall said to have been gathered from man to the moon could just as well have been gathered by unmanned aircraft circling the moon.
We pride ourselves on being a "Christian nation." How can we reconcile the continuing needy condition of so many millions of our people with our spending the money that would alleviate their condition on unnecessary defense and space projects?