We’re going to have a Space Force, with snazzy new uniforms and everything (“Congress, White House near deal to create Space Force in exchange for paid leave for federal workers,” Dec. 6).

But first we should ask whatever happened to Star Wars. Thirty-six years ago, legendary cold-warrior President Ronald Reagan, with much hoopla, launched the Strategic Defense Initiative, immediately dubbed Star Wars. The goal was a space-based shield to deliver us from the mutually assured destruction of nuclear missiles. On the nightly news we were treated to 1980s, state-of-the-art “missile-command” graphics showing space-based lasers knocking down missiles or kinetic weapons scattering bits of tin foil, causing incoming nukes to harmlessly detonate in space. Billions went to the visionary corporate champions of futuristic defense.

What do we have for the hundreds of billions spent? Well, test results were mixed. Some tests were successful at knocking down a single missile when they knew where it was coming from and when — but not with a ray gun or space-based system. Goals were scaled back from continent-wide to maybe some protection from a rogue, nuke-armed, megalomaniac dictator threatening with long-range missiles.

Sound like anyone we know? Hint: he writes beautiful letters and said he might give America a Christmas present.

As taxpayers, before we spend a dime on Space Force, let’s ask the Military Industrial Complex: Where’s our Star Wars? Couldn’t we just take out one of Rocket Man’s missiles? Where are our ray guns?

Jim Furnas

Cloquet