Letter to the Editor: Funding education would do more for the nation’s defense

Editor:

What’s this ARPANET? I thought Al Gore invented the internet.

Seriously though, in response to Mr. Hull’s defense of Defense (“Defense funding inspires products that save and improve lives,” Feb. 15), I must remark on a few common misconceptions.

Just like the Star Wars program, which he uses as a good example of how military research benefits society as a whole, the arguments in favor of supporting Department of Defense research seem to be: “The ends justify the other ends.”

It is almost universally true, of course, that advances in military technology have historically led to practical and beneficial applications in the public and private sectors.

However, the question that many are asking is, “Could we have arrived at those same applications through pure research, without simultaneously developing tools to kill other people?”

Now, before I come off sounding like a Commie-pinko bleeding-heart liberal, I must stress that I realize the legitimate need for national security. Military technology is certainly an important component of keeping ourselves and other freedom-loving people safe.

However, when our leaders choose to appropriate billions and billions of dollars for a National Missile Defense program that is an absolute and utter failure, it gives cause for alarm.

I wish I could believe that my hard-earned taxes are being spent for the betterment of our nation. However, when I see elementary classrooms overflowing with students and underflowing with resources while our president requests permission to renew the testing of nuclear weapons-even while censuring other countries who may or may not have such weapons themselves-it makes me sick.

I’m grateful for the research that has made my homeland a world leader in science and technology, and I’m also grateful for the security that we feel as a result.

Perhaps though, we could re-prioritize our research spending by eliminating programs that only serve to engender in others feelings of fear, mistrust and even hatred. We could do this by putting more of our resources into the one public institution that seeks the betterment of us all: our schools.

Joshua Kennedy

Graduate Student, Physics

(Doesn’t want to build bombs

when he grows up)