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Columbia
delirium happy
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Apparently, the space shuttle Columbia blew up on re-entry today. This hasn't really hit me in the personal way that it has some other people -- I've never really followed the shuttle missions, nor this mission in particular, nor do I remember Challenger. I am relatively unfazed by the whole thing. The thing that strikes me is that it is a tragic and pointless waste of 7 human lives. It was a sad and senseless accident, and thinking about it brings a lump to my throat.

And then came the next item on the news, about how Bush and Blair are determined to go to war with Iraq no matter what. To pointlessly and senselessly kill a great many more innocent people. That incongruity is a great deal of what is wrong with the world today.

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The war thing is scary on several levels, but today will probably be the day I think about it less than any other day in the past week or so.

I'm sure the shuttle disaster would hit me hard even if I didn't remember Challenger -- I don't follow the space program as closely as I used to, but it's still part of "The Dream" -- but I think that remembering Challenger makes the icy feeling in my stomach today over Columbia that much harder.

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aye. Considering the length of the program, and the number of things that could go wrong, I think on the whole they've got off rather lightly over the years.

I remember Challenger. I dont remember how I felt at the time. Possibly the same as now, oh dear, big shuttle blew up, but it doesn't really affect me. But then big nasty things happening out in the world rarely do, it seems.

When Princess Diana died, I didn't find out till the evening of the following day, and that was only by accident, in the fact I was visiting a friend and he had radio 4 news on while I was there.

When I heard about the WTC, my first thought was Nah, you're shitting me. But it doesn't really sink in, cos you're no there, or you're no involved, so you just think 'Oh dear, bad shit' and move on.

I've been teeter tottering back and forth on this whole war issue.

I guess I have some sort of blind faith in the United States as responsible for the rest of the world---though primarily themselves. I suppose I take more of a Utilitarian perspective with this, confessing that the loss of lives now may prevent the loss of more lives later.

The thing is, though, it won't save more lives in the future; it'll just perpetuate the (usually reasonably well-deserved) hatred of America that encourages terrorism to spring up. Killing people doesn't make their friends and relatives want to kill you less. So unless they plan to nuke the entire Arab world into glass (unleashing untold environmental nasties and probably annoying somebody else in the process) war is not going to help.

This war isn't about saving lives; it's about securing Bush's precarious political position, and it's about vendettas that look set to become as ugly as the ones in Northern Ireland but on a global scale, and it's about oil. But not about saving lives.

That was my initial response regarding ousting Saddam - but the behaviour of Bush et al suggests to me that they're not going to do the most careful of jobs putting Iraq back together again. Of course, this shouldn't surprise anybody considering who put Saddam in power in the first place...

Unless, of course, you were expecting to save lives by putting a curb on terrorism. Doesn't work that way.

Bush got one thing right though..

Those 7 people, died in service for all mankind.
They were doing something positive.
Sadly, there are still huge risks involved in space, and they all knew that.
But it doesn't make it any easier to take..

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