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Commentary Last Updated: Jul 19th, 2006 - 00:38:13

Building bubbles for Bush
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Jul 19, 2006, 00:34

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No, I�m not talking about the Wall Street derivatives bubble, which could pop any day and take us all over the rainbow. Or the national debt, annual budget and trade deficit bubbles which could similarly �pop� in the night and disappear the economy. No, the �bubbles� I�m referring to are laser shield bubbles for airports from the weapons vultures at Northrop Grumman, that are, according to, �to safeguard large areas from rockets and missiles.�

Northrop, which is already sucking up some $1.5 billion a year from the US�s Bush & Company, led only by Lockheed Martin at $1.7 billion, sees a potentially �very large� market for its laser-powered system developed to shield airports and installations from rockets, ballistic missiles �and other threats.� And in �the other� is the mother of all fears.

Thus, Northrop has already pitched its laser �bubble,� also known as Skyguard, to Israel, which, not unsurprisingly, worked with Northrop and the Army to create the technology. What will they think of next, especially when Israel has started peppering Gaza with missiles and dropping bombs on Lebanon, and as the US leadership sows salt in the fields of a biblical and Koran-claimed lord?

And who knows, it could be just a hop, skip and jump to an international nuclear conflagration with Syria, Iran, perhaps even North Korea popping into the ballistic missile peppering. So it may pay to have our bubbles in a row, thinking like good world conquerors and bad men.

In fact, a typical airport might only cost $25 to $30 million per to shield a five kilometer radius, Northrop tells us, though for the United Sates an initial unit could be up and bubbly in 18 months for just $150 to $200 million. These bon mots come from Northrop�s director of business development for directed energy systems. What a bargain. Yet think, for each bubble you could build a school, a senior center, a hospital, a veteran�s facility, a library.

And, to quote the great English poet William Blake, in this seeming little bubble, as in a grain of sand, we can see the universe, our universe of endless war and �defense� production; see it destroying us: "Tiger tiger burning bright in the forest of the night. Oh what awful hand or eye has shaped thy symmetry?�

And yes, Northrop says bubble Skyguard does have the oomph to knock out rockets, mortars, artillery shells, unmanned aerial vehicles, short-range ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles, with a 20-kilomter radius against mere shoulder-fired missiles. And from Northrop�s �A to Z directory of weapons and programs� to the DOD�s department store of destruction, this seems according to them a find, a gift for us all. No, you say?

This wouldn�t be another step down then, would it, another descent into the hell of the Military Industrial Complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell speech in 1961? The same that so aptly opens the documentary Why We Fight, written and directed by Eugene Jarecki, the title itself taken from a series of propaganda films that Frank Capra made in 1942 to encourage the American war effort against Nazism, itself the would-be world conqueror of its time, sadly reduced to rubble by the then-good guys America and its Allies.

But, Eisenhower, leader of that laudable effort, warned that production of unnecessary weapons systems, that the climbing into bed of business with government and its military was an unholy m�nage. And since Ike�s time, it has only gotten worse, as �stealth bombers� opened the war on Iraq and were followed with the awful �shock and awe� of bunker busters. And now we talk of laser bubbles to protect us -- us, with the largest stock of lethal missiles in the world.

And as Jarecki points out, if you build these weapons (and defense systems), the same warriors have to build the wars to use the weapons. They feed on each other, yielding huge profits, rake-offs, and corruption to the providers, and death, destruction, the end of civilization to the human race. So the policy of domination becomes an abomination to the planet itself. A slow pullback of the camera from a bubble airport widens to take in a world in chaos, bankrupted by the illogic of preemptive unilateral war, condemned by history to inevitably fail.

How Bout a Bubble for Bush?

One solution would be to build a bubble around Bush, a literal bubble of let�s say molded Lucite or Plexiglass and seal him in it with an oxygen and food feed. Perhaps a bubble for Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Pearle, all the never-been to war who love it so much. Unlike the man who grew up in battle, Eisenhower, and all the generals of today who urge us to abandon this folly.

Yes, build bubbles for Bush & Company, a bubble zoo, so we could go and look at them and remind ourselves of how wild they are. And then what a beautiful world it would be, as Satchmo would sing -- and without the tri-color alerts or the Trilateral Commission. Without living with fear or the fear of cowards who have never resolved their own tortured souls; men who don�t know how to live with themselves and their angst let alone a world full of others.

And then perhaps Northrop could devote its intelligence to building educational systems, medical systems, engines that didn�t run on oil and gas. My, my, what a truly protective bubble that would be, using the laser eye of human invention to work for life and not against it. And to enlist Lockheed and Raytheon and Big Pharma, even the food industries, to defend the world against disease, starvation, environmental decay.

Ah, but perhaps that�s too idealistic? A kind of I�m forever blowing bubbles thing, just like children blowing streams of rainbow colored bubbles into the air. But then they might lead us back to a kind of paradise on earth. As opposed to say Raytheon�s ground-based airport protection system that uses high-power microwaves to protect commercial aircraft from shoulder-fired missiles. The system, ironically, is called Vigilant Eagle, after the national bird of prey, yet that kills only to feed itself and its young, not as a blood sport or an adventure in ruling the world or even the sky.

Perhaps we wouldn�t need a Department of Homeland Security then, planning to spend millions on the Skyguard bubbles. Or Northrop seeking a US government license to export Skyguard bubbles, assuming at the very least Israel wants an initial order. I mean Skyguard�s bubble grew out of the Tactical High Energy Laser or THEL (another deadly DOD acronym), designed to shield Israel�s northern communities from Katyuhsa rockets and artillery shells.

Ttell me I�m a dreamer and I�ll tell you the killers are waiting in the wings to eat your heart and soul out. �The new generation of Skyguard bubble is only one-fourth the size of the original package, but has higher power and a larger beam, making it much more capable,� said Northrop Grumman. Capable of what, we should ask, perpetuating the cycle of war and defense, tyrants and standing armies, which Washington himself warned against?

Think it over, America. Maybe it�s time someone popped the Military Industrial defense bubble and stopped living in their nightmarish dream world. Maybe it�s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Look outside, it�s summer. The lilacs are blooming in the dooryard. Think of peace and of the possibility of what life can be, beyond the field of corpses earth is being turned into in the misspoken name of Democracy.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at

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