“By early in the last decade, some weapons experts ranked Syria’s chemical stockpile as probably the largest in the world, consisting of tens of tons of highly lethal chemical agents and hundreds of Scud missiles as well as lesser rockets, artillery rockets and bomblets for delivering the poisons.
Syria’s preferred poison is not mustard gas but sarin, the nerve agent that killed 13 people and sickened about 1,000 during a terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995. Sarin, which is lethal if inhaled even in minute quantities, can also be used to contaminate water and food supplies. Although many analysts doubt that Assad would deliberately share chemical bombs with terrorists, it is not inconceivable that weapons could vanish amid the chaos of an uprising that destroys Syria’s vaunted security services, which safeguard the munitions. …” Read the article…
“On July 25th… while John Boehner raced around the Capitol desperately pressing Republican House members for votes on a debt-ceiling bill that Harry Reid was calling dead-on-arrival in the Senate, America’s new ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, took his oath of office in distant Kabul. According to the New York Times, he then gave a short speech “warning” that “Western powers needed to ‘proceed carefully’” and emphasized that when it came to the war, there would “be no rush for the exits.
“If, in Washington, people were rushing for those exits, no chance of that in Kabul almost a decade into America’s second Afghan War. There, the air strikes, night raids, assassinations, roadside bombs, and soldier and civilian deaths, we are assured, will continue to 2014 and beyond. In a war in which every gallon of gas used by a fuel-guzzling U.S. military costs $400 to $800 to import, time is no object and — despite the panic in Washington over debt payments — neither evidently is cost….”
Two years before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and only five years after Alan Shepherd’s first sub-orbital flight, a small group of Air Force officers began to fly to the edge of space almost daily. They continued to do so for over thirty years, in the most incredible airplane ever built.
I was going to write something about the Shuttle, what it gave to its country, and the marvel of its very existence, but I just can’t. Not yet. I’m still too angry at the lack of vision — the incompetence — of the people responsible for shutting down our space program. Instead, I thought I’d re-post this excerpt from the book Sled Driver, about the near-spaceship that could.
If you love airplanes and flying, read on. If you don’t…well, some of us are luckier than others.