Defense nominee Rumsfeld is Star Wars cheer-leader & corporate operative, groups contend
January 2001

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and Veterans for Peace, with the support of peace groups around the world, are calling on the U.S. Senate to reject the appointment of Donald Rumsfeld as the next U.S. Secretary of Defense charging that he is a "Star Wars zealot" who will cause a new arms race and ultimately war in space.

"Rumsfeld has been the agent of the right-wing and corporate forces that have been pushing for Star Wars," said Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network. "It was Rumsfeld who, in 1998, was appointed by arch-conservatives Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott to chair a commission that insisted on prompt deployment of a missile defense system. The Commission's findings undermined earlier CIA analyses that threats of attack from 'rogue states' were not imminent, eventually forcing the CIA to change its projections."

"Rumsfeld was then given the 'Keeper of the Flame' award by the pro-Star Wars right-wing Center for Security Policy," noted Gagnon, "an operation funded by the aerospace corporations that seeks to become Star Wars contractors and which has listed Rumsfeld as a "trusted advisor" and a financial supporter." Rumsfeld recently chaired a second Space Commission, made up of former Space Command leaders, that insists that the U.S. needs anti-satellite weapons to protect U.S. "space assets."

"Rumsfeld supports U.S. plans to "control space" in violation of the intent of the United Nations' Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which sets aside space for "peaceful purposes," and which the U.S. not only has signed but was a leader in initiating. With Rumsfeld in charge of the Pentagon, we will see a push for the weaponization of space that will lead to an arms race in space. Other nations will not submit to having the U.S. "control space". The real fight to stop Star Wars begins with the issue of Senate approval of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense."

Peter Shaw of Veterans for Peace said, "Our members know what war is about" and described Rumsfeld as a "radical operative of the military industry complex who opposes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, testified against the chemical weapons convention, opposed the SALT II arms agreement, and lobbied for the B-2 Bomber and the MX MissileÑand has carried the flame for Star Wars. The United States and the world cannot afford this extreme agenda."

As a Congressman from Illinois Rumsfeld voted against food stamps, Medicare, and antipoverty programs. He is a past board member of the Hoover Institution (a right wing think tank), and was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger (mid-1970s). If he is confirmed, Rumsfeld will be in a position to drive up military spending that will force further cuts in already hard hit social spending.

Karl Grossman, author of a soon-to-be-released book, "Weapons In Space" (Seven Stories Press) which includes information on Rumsfeld and his Star Wars links, said that "as The Washington Post has just reported, Rumsfeld is the 'leading proponent not only of national missile defenses, but also of U.S. efforts to take control of outer space.'" Grossman, a professor of journalism at the State University of New York, said that "we must focus on strengthening the Outer Space Treaty, bolstering it by banning all weapons from space. Our neighbor Canada is a leader in this call at the United Nations. With Rumsfeld as defense secretary, the U.S. will be moving in the other direction."

The Global Network and Veterans for Peace are calling on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and thereafter the full U.S. Senate, to reject Rumsfeld. They are organizing a grassroots campaign in which people across the United States are contacting their U.S. senators and expressing their opposition to the Bush appointment of Rumsfeld.

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