Last Summer, the United States Department of Defense formed an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force to investigate UFO sightings. Towards the end of December, President Trump signed a pandemic relief bill into law. You wouldn’t think that the two things had anything in common – at least, I wouldn’t – but it turns out that the bill had a provision that called,
… for the director of national intelligence to help produce an unclassified report on everything government agencies know about UFOs, including scores of unusual sightings reported by military pilots.
That report is due sometime next month.Washington Post
As a result of the report’s imminent arrival, UFOs have been hitting the headlines in the mainstream media.
I have always had an interest in UFOs. I can’t remember when it started but I do remember being very impressed in my teens by a book called Above Top Secret by Timothy Good that catalogued sightings and encounters. It presented them in a serious way that did full justice to the potential importance of the issue.
I have no settled view on whether UFOs are alien space craft or not. What is very clear to me, though, is that not all the sightings are the products of deluded minds or charlatans. Yesterday, having seen the latest headlines, I decided to watch a documentary from last year called The Phenomenon, which covered the history of UFO sightings from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Among the contributors were high ranking political figures and military personnel – people whose judgement you would expect to be sober and considered, and who would have much more to lose than gain by appearing in a documentary of this kind; and yet, here they were, ready to speak out about the subject all the same.
With that in mind, and given the quality of the sightings – indicating that witnesses are seeing something whatever it is – I would have thought UFOs would be eminently worthy of study, especially because if there is even the slightest possibility of their being operated by intelligent beings, that has profound national and global security implications (particularly, as alleged in The Phenomenon, they are able to control nuclear weapon facilities). It may all come to nothing but wouldn’t we rather make that judgement after investigation than before?
Of course, governments are in a difficult position here. They like to be in control. They like to control – democracies as well as tyrannies. But they would not be able to control intelligent beings who possess the technology to travel across vast distances of space. Better to keep the information about them secret. That’s a way forward, although not a convincing one: it would only last until an alien race decided to make contact with us.