Monday, January 12, 2015

OSRD (and academia's) dirty little secret : just how little the OSRD spent on penicillin - not how MUCH it spent on A-Bomb

Vannevar Bush grew a whole lot fonder of penicillin after it was highly successful (and highly popular among voters and congressmen) than when its future lay in doubt and only he had the power to ensure it succeeded.

The uncomfortable fact is that it was Washington's tiny New Deal-oriented OPRD (and not the similar-sounding but Republican Party-dominated much larger ORSD) that actually gave the world cheap abundant natural penicillin in time to save millions of lives during the wartime and postwar health crises.

While the OPRD had all the ideas and all the energy, it was the OSRD that had all the money --- and all that money bought plenty of tame academics  prepared to rewrite war history - for money - in a manner than would have even given Goebbels himself pause.

Bush - never a top drawer scientist but always a Beltway bureaucrat with very sharp elbows - was determined to use the 'miracle of penicillin' as a weapon to bludgeon money out of a hitherto reluctant Congress to fund the postwar dreams of university academics.

But he could only do so if all the university academics kept up their end of the implicit bargain.

That was their agreeing never to probe his claims of wartime 'success' too closely - because frankly, if right wing Bush's legacy was screwed as a result, so would be a whole lot of still living left wing professors also hoping for a pot of federal gold for their pet project....

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