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In Interstellar, NASA denied the US government's order to drop bombs on civilians. But, why did government order NASA in the first place? Isn't this the job of the military/Air Force?

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From the transcript (the original script did not include this scene)

I heard they shut you down, sir...
...for refusing to drop bombs from the stratosphere...
...onto starving people.
When they realized that killing other people was...
...not a long-term solution, then they needed us back.

I suspect that they were driving at the idea of scorched earth. Nuke everything to eradicate the Blight and then maybe Earth could be made habitable again. Or perhaps they were just trying to slow it down enough. You'd need NASA since the surviving humans would have to be in orbit for some period of time to watch the results and return if re-population was possible..

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    I'd add that "refusing to drop bombs from the stratosphere" doesn't necessarily mean they would literally be the ones doing it. The Air Force may have simply asked for their cooperation for the operation and they refused. – Z. Cochrane Feb 15 '18 at 2:36

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