If we don’t hunt for Martians, the terrorists win

Pax Arcana

I’ve been sitting on this one for a week, not because I was too lazy or busy to post it, but because it is so awesome I wanted it all for myself. I must have read the following paragraph, written by former UK Ministry of Defense official Nick Pope, a brazillion times. Keep in mind that this argument was put forth in the Op-Ed pages of a wacky conspiracy-pushing supermarket tabloid called the New York Times:

A healthy skepticism about extraterrestrial space travelers leads people to disregard U.F.O. sightings without a moment’s thought. But in the United States, this translates into overdependence on radar data and indifference to all kinds of unidentified aircraft — a weakness that could be exploited by terrorists or anyone seeking to engage in espionage against the United States.

That’s right. Our “healthy skepticism” about whether alien beings are descending to earth and poking at our rural bumpkins with rectal probes leaves the door wide open for catastrophic terrorist attacks.

So awesome. Tell me more:

On Dec. 26, 1980, for instance, several witnesses at two American Air Force bases in England reported seeing a U.F.O. land. An examination of the site turned up indentations in the ground and a level of radiation in the area that was significantly higher than ordinary. More witnesses at the same base reported the U.F.O. again on subsequent nights. The deputy base commander reported that the aircraft aimed light beams into the most highly sensitive area of the base — a clear security breach.

Scary! Did it turn out to be terrorists?

On March 30 and 31, 1993, there was a wave of U.F.O. sightings over Britain. One witness described a triangular-shaped craft that flew slowly over an air force base before accelerating away to the horizon in an instant, many times faster than a jet. The British military reported, “There would seem to be some evidence on this occasion that an unidentified object (or objects) of unknown origin was operating over the U.K.”

Scary! Did it turn out to be terrorists?

On April 23, 2007, a commercial airline pilot and some of his passengers reported a huge cigar-shaped U.F.O. — the pilot estimated it to be a mile wide — near the Channel Islands. At the time, air traffic controllers reported to the pilot that radar picked up something, but that it was “unknown traffic.”

Scary! Did it turn out to… oh never mind.

It didn’t.

Unidentified Flying Threats [NYT]

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