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As if the White House doesn’t have enough to worry about between the debt-ceiling debate, Cabinet confirmations and contentious efforts to stem gun violence, now it has to contend with the sneering condescension of the Galactic Empire.
Last week the Obama administration denied a petition to build a Death Star by 2016, with Paul Shawcross of the White House Office of Management and Budget explaining to the 34,435 signees that not only would a moon-sized space station be cost-prohibitive — $850,000,000,000,000,000, by one estimate — but that the super-weapon has an obvious design flaw that’s already been exploited on two occasions. On top of that, the administration doesn’t really condone the destruction of planets.
Now, through the official Star Wars blog, the gloating representatives of the Emperor have responded, hailing the unwillingness of the United States to construct a Death Star as confirmation of “the overwhelming military superiority of the Galactic Empire.” The press release, from Galactic Empire Public Relations on Coruscant, refers to Earth as a “tiny, aggressive planet.”
“It is doubtless that such a technological terror in the hands of so primitive a world would be used to upset the peace and sanctity of the citizens of the Galactic Empire,“ Gov. Wilhuff Tarkin is quoted as saying. “Such destructive power can only be wielded to protect and defend by so enlightened a leader as Emperor Palpatine.” The release continues:
Although signed by 34,435 people, a petition asking the U.S. government to build a Death Star didn’t bring the results its signers were looking for. But at least it gave the White House an excuse to have some fun … and maybe watch Star Wars again in the interest of “research.”
The petition was created last November on the White House’s “We the People” website by
Anakin S. from Tatooine John D. from Longmont Colo. He wanted the infamous space station built by 2016, noting “By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.”
Paul Shawcross, chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, said a Death Star wasn’t in the government’s future, noting its potential cost, moral reasons (“The Administration does not support blowing up planets”) and design issues — “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” — but he left out the potential maintenance issues or copyright issues Disney might raise. Shawcross went on to tout the International Space Station, which already exists and probably isn’t in imminent danger of an X-wing strike anytime soon, as well as other aspects of the space program.
“Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe,” Shawcross said. If that new Hubble Telescope doesn’t have a monster-inhabited trash compactor, I think it’s time for another petition.