11 years ago, today, the following story appeared in Air Force Times. For years, people had wondered if U.S. government, and specifically, the Air Force had hidden secrets of a UFO crash in New Mexico.
Bunk, they said.
And they made it official.
The Air Force's explanation might be official, but that doesn't make it correct. I'm rather confident it isn't. That doesn't, of course, automatically imply that extraterrestrials crashed; the Roswell Incident could just as easily have been the result of a terrestrial mishap.
I know certain readers won't believe this, but I don't especially care what happened. To me, Roswell has never been a matter of "wanting to believe" that aliens are visiting us in fallible metal ships -- because when you really stop to consider it, the idea that we're presumably at the mercy of secretive creatures in fantastical craft comes burdened with its share of existential disquiet.
Certainly it would be nice to know we're not alone in the interstellar dark. But if Roswell was an extraterrestrial event, it leaves the ET motive murky at best. Perhaps, as argued by Stan Friedman, the aliens were busily monitoring our military installations at the dawn of the Cold War in order to assess any threat we might pose. Friedman's scenario is fundamentally peaceable; his alien visitors -- as opposed to the meddling Grays of Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs -- are likable enough, even if they're content to remain encapsulated in their iconic saucers instead of approaching us as openly.
But Friedman's isn't the only interpretation in keeping with the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. And the ETH is hardly the only tool in our arsenal, even if we're forced to dispense with the prospect of human experimentation and downed prototype aircraft.
It's just possible that the Roswell Incident -- and, by extension, the booming enigma we've come to call the "UFO phenomenon" -- represents something sinister . . . or, worse still, a process so thoroughly implacable we lack the perceptual syntax to ever understand it.