12/31/2007 12:25 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Scientific Research in America at Risk

It is hard to believe, but science in America is struggling. Funding for scientific research has been cut back for years, but this year it is so bad that Fermi National Lab in the Chicago area, needs to close down for six weeks in 2008 to make ends meet. Last week Congress failed to provide enough budgetary support for basic scientific research in all fields. The budget devastates basic research. The entire Office of Science, which is part of the Department of Energy, has lost 10 percent of its funding, a significant amount that impacts research in all fields. Fermi lab's budget falls short by $62 million for the year, but we continue to spend 150 billion per year on the war. It is shocking that we as a nation have our priorities so confused. We are spending today with careless regard for what we are doing to future generations.

Basic scientific research in the past has provided us with advances such as radiation therapy, the world wide web (created at the CERN in Geneva), satellite technology, cell phone technology, MRIs, radar, DVDs, new drugs, genome research, DNA research and even war technology. Can you imagine life without our laser technology: laser printers, laser surgery? The NY Times just reported that doctors now want to use powerful accelerators to destroy cancer cells. All this has been the result of basic research. Where is the future of science if the government fails to support it? Our government is spending a much smaller fraction of the GNP on basic research than Japan and Western Europe. Congress and Bush need to work together to honor the mandates of the electorate. Congress tried to respond and cut back on the war only to have Bush refuse to sign the bills.

Most Americans know this war cannot be won and want out. What will it take for the Bush to follow the wishes of the people? After all, we are supposed to be a democracy and Bush claims we are fighting for democracy in Iraq. Clearly, he is not listening to what he says.

We are destroying our future while we deceive ourselves into thinking we are destroying the enemy.