Cape Kennedy, FL (APE) - One day after NASA announced ambitious plans to return to the moon by 2020, the Bush administration expressed total support for the project. An administration spokesperson stated that as a result of the Baker commission report they would be seeking to expand the war on terror to address potential American targets and interests on the moon, but steadfastly denied rumors the administration would be seeking to install "hardened bases" on the moon.
Citing the universal importance of the crescent moon symbol to Muslims worldwide, an administration spokesperson stated that it was "highly likely" that Al-Qaeda would attempt to transplant its brand of radical Islam to the stars, and that the moon represented the perfect stepping stone. "It's only a matter of time before they have nuclear capability," said the anonymous spokesperson, "and the moon represents an irresistible launch platform for earthly as well as lunar targets. It's the equivalent of the insurgent who drops an IED onto a convoy from the highway overpass... difficult to detect and defend."
White House plans initially envisioned a military/security crewmember to accompany each mission in the establishment of a manned base on the moon, with future missions designed to promote a separate and independent military base. The military would then withdraw its forces as NASA personnel became trained and better able to provide their own security. The White House denied that it was seeking a permanent military presence on the moon, but stated that secret talks were underway with all the former signatories to the Peaceful Use of Outer Space Committee to address language in the pact that it found too restrictive.
"The moon is too strategically important to be allowed to fall into the hands of terrorists," said the White House spokesperson. "This is precisely "the way forward" in the war on terror that the president has been looking for."