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Trump's astronomically misguided 'space force'

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Speaking to an audience of military personnel in California earlier this year, United States President Donald Trump unveiled his scheme to create a sixth branch of the US military: the "space force".

According to Trump's version of the story, the idea had unfolded as follows: "I was saying it the other day cos we're doing a tremendous amount of work in space. I said maybe we need a new force; we'll call it the space force. And I was not really serious, and then I said what a great idea, maybe we'll have do do that."

Of course, such flashes of creative brilliance are to be expected from the man who self-identifies as "a very stable genius".

It seems, however, that the whole space force notion may not have materialised in as spontaneous a fashion as Trump has implied. As CNN pointed out, the idea for a "space corps" as a distinct military branch surfaced last year but was ultimately "nixed from the final version of the $700 billion bipartisan defence policy bill".

Rewind a bit further in time, and we find that a similar suggestion was also put forth in 2001 by a commission headed by soon-to-be US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

And as NPR recalls: "The concept of a space force goes back to the Cold War".

Anyway, facts are flexible in the Trumpian era.

Explaining to the gathering in California that his "new national strategy for space recognises that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea", Trump vouched for........

© Al Jazeera