While politicians hype the expensive plan as "Missile defense"
Military documents reveal true goals of "Star Wars" plan
September/October 2001

The U.S. program to make space a new arena of war is being aggressively pushed ahead. The recent appointment by George W. Bush of General Richard B. Myers to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--the top military man in the United States--puts more of the pieces together.

Myers is former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Space Command. Under him, the Space Command advanced its scheme to "control space" and from there "dominate" the earth below. The headline in U.S. News & World Report's article on Myers' appointment aptly referred to him as "General Starwars."

As he stated in a 1999 speech--titled "Implementing our Vision for Space Control"--the U.S. must move ahead "to implement what is essentially a framework for space control--a fully integrated framework based on partnerships with other Department and Defense and civil agencies, with industry, and with our foreign partners."

Now the general has a prime opportunity to move on that mission, serving under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, himself a huge Star Wars booster, and an administration intimately tied to the major aerospace corporations that have been promoting Star Wars and coming from the Star Wars-focused right-wing of the Republican Party.

Meanwhile, opposition to Star Wars is building. The Gainesville-based Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space has organized an International Day of Protest Against the Militarization of Space for October 13. There will be demonstrations and gatherings all over the U.S. and in more than 20 other countries.

"If the U.S. is allowed to move the arms race into space, there will be no return," says Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network. "We have this one chance, this one moment in history, to stop the weaponization of space from happening."

The blueprint for the Bush-Cheney administration's Star Wars program is the report issued earlier this year of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, the so-called "Space Commission" chaired by the Rumsfeld. The report emphasizes: "In the coming period, the U.S. will conduct operations to, from, in and through space in supports of its national interests both on earth and in space."

It urges the U.S. president "have the option to deploy weapons in space." It stresses that it is "possible to project power through and from space in response to events anywhere in the world" and this would give the U.S. "an extraordinary military advantage." It recommends "missile defense." However, a reading of this and other U.S. government and military documents show "missile defense" as a "layer" or part of a broader space military program.

Vision for 2020, a space military plan issued by General Myers' Space Command, opens by declaring: "US Space Command--dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment. Integrating Space Forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict."

It prominently features a graphic of a laser shooting a beam down from space zapping a target below and provides as a model for the U.S. space military program how centuries ago "nations built navies to protect and enhance their commercial interests," how the empires of Europe ruled the waves and thus the world centuries ago. The commercial interests now necessitating the U.S. ruling space and from it the world? Vision for 2020 stresses the corporate global economy of which the U.S. is the engine. "The globalization of the world economy will. . . continue with a widening between 'haves' and 'have-nots,'" says Vision for 2020. The view apparently is that by controlling space and the Earth below, the U.S. will be able to keep those "have-nots" in line.

"Now is the time," says the U.S. Space Command's Long Range Plan, "to begin developing space capabilities, innovative concepts of operations for warfighting, and organizations that can meet the challenges of the 2lst Century. . . Space power in the 2lst Century looks similar to previous military revolutions, such as aircraft-carrier warfare and Blitzkrieg."

The Long Range Plan states: "The United States will remain a global power and exert global leadership. . . The United States won't always be able to forward base its forces. . . Widespread communications will highlight disparities in resources and quality of life--contributing to unrest in developing countries. . . The global economy will continue to become more interdependent. Economic alliances, as well as the growth and influence of multi-national corporations, will blur security agreements. . . The gap between 'have' and 'have-not' nations will widen--creating regional unrest. . . The United States will remain the only nation able to project power globally. . . One of the long acknowledged and commonly understood advantages of space-based platforms is no restriction or country clearances to overfly a nation from space. . . Achieving space superiority during conflicts will be critical to the US success on the battlefield."

The Long Range Plan stresses corporate involvement in its development. "The Long Range Plan has been US Space Command's #1 priority for the past 11 months, investing nearly 20 man-years to make it a reality," it starts out. "The development and production process, by design, involved hundreds of people including about 75 corporations." The Long Range Plan subsequently provides a list of these corporations--beginning with Aerojet and Boeing and going through Lockheed Martin, Rand Corp., Raytheon, Sparta Corp. and TRW to Vista Technologies. President Eisenhower warned the nation in 1961 about the rise of a "military-industrial complex"--and years later the U.S. military is proudly emphasizing it.

Far more than reports and rhetoric are involved. Last December, the Clinton administration gave the go-ahead for development of the Space-Based Laser, now underway at NASA's Space Flight Center in Mississippi. The "lifecycle budget" of the project is put by the U.S. military at $20 to $30 billion. It is a joint undertaking of Lockheed Martin, Boeing and TRW. The promotional poster for this laser shows it firing its ray in space while a U.S. flag somehow manages to wave in space above it. Another space-based laser project is the Alpha high-energy laser built by TRW which has conducted more than 20 test firings.

What the U.S. is doing is in violation of the intent of the basic international law on space, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which sets space aside for "peaceful purposes."

Indeed, last November, because of what the U.S. is up to, a resolution on "Prevention of An Arms Race In Outer Space" was voted on at the UN General Assembly. The resolution sought to reaffirm the Outer Space Treaty and specifically, its provision that space be reserved for "peaceful purposes." Some 163 nations voted in favor. The U.S. abstained taking along with it Israel and Micronesia.

Canada, certainly in no way a potential foe of the U.S., has been a leader in seeking to preserve and strengthen the Outer Space Treaty. In a UN presentation last October, Marc Vidricaire, counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Canada, declared: "Outer space has not yet witnessed the introduction of space-based weapons. This could change if the international community does not first prevent this destabilizing development through the timely negotiation of measures banning the introduction of weapons into outer space."

"It has been suggested that our proposal is not relevant because the assessment on which it rests is either premature or alarmist," he said. "In our view, it is neither. One need only look at what is happening right now to realize that it is not premature."

Vidricare said: "There is no question that the technology can be developed to place weapons in outer space. There is also no question that no state can expect to maintain a monopoly on such knowledge -- or such capabilities -- for all time. If one state actively pursues the weaponization of space, we can be sure others will follow."

The U.S. has been blocking the Canadian initiative.

China and Russia, meanwhile, are also strongly in favor of a strengthened Outer Space Treaty. Indeed, China has been introducing a resolution of its own seeking a ban on weapons of space, which the U.S. has also been blocking.

"The whole world wants to maintain space in a peaceful mode for the new millenium, to keep space free of weapons, but not the United States which is bent on empire that it thinks can be accomplished by its arming the sky," says Alice Slater, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Global Network and president of the New York-based Global Resource Action Center for the Environment.

"Master of Space" is a motto of the Air Force Space Command appearing as a uniform patch and in jumbo letters over the front entrance of a major Space Command element, the 50th Space Wing in Colorado.

Star Wars promoters are unabashed in declaring that hegemony is at the center of the program. As U.S. Senator Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican who wrote the legislation which created the Rumsfeld "Space Commission," asked in my new video documentary Star Wars Returns about the U.S. seeking to "control space," declares: "It is our manifest destiny. You know we went from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States of America settling the continent and they call that manifest destiny and the next continent if you will, the next frontier, is space and it goes on forever."

Says Gagnon: "If the House and the Senate allow Bush to carry out this space weaponization plan, they will have all created the conditions that will surely move the arms race into the heaven. The aerospace industry will get rich from it and the taxpayers will get a more unstable world. The people of the world must speak out loudly and clearly if we are to stop this new insanity"

Most Democrats in Congress are weak in their opposition to Star Wars. At press time, for example, the Bush administration was seeking $8.3 billion for "missile defense" for the next fiscal year and, along party lines, the Senate Armed Services Committee had voted 13-12 to recommend $7 billion instead.Further, "most Democratic Party politicians are supporting the deployment of Theatre Missile Defense--to surround China forcing China to expand its military and this to be used as further justification for Star Wars," says Gagnon. "And they are for continued research and development of Star Wars."

Gagnon says that research and development of Star Wars "must be zero-funded if we are to prevent an arms race in space. Just the process alone of the Pentagon and aerospace corporations doing Star Wars research and development is destabilizing as the message is sent to the rest of the world that the U.S. intends to follow through with plans for 'control and domination' of space."

One exception among Democratic officials on Star Wars is Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. Next month he plans to introduce legislation to ban space-based weapons. "My bill will call for an immediate and permanent termination of research, testing, manufacturing, production and deployment of all space-based weapons systems and components by any person, agency or contractor of the U.S. government," says the congressman from Cleveland.

He'll need support from the grassroots.

If Star Wars is to be stopped it will have to be--as the Vietnam War was stopped and the civil rights struggle won--at the grassroots, with the people leading the leaders.

Karl Grossman is professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. He wrote and narrates the new video documentary Star Wars Returns available from EnviroVideo (1-800-ECO-TV46 or http://www.envirovideo.com) and is author of Weapons In Space published by Seven Stories Press (1-800-596-7437 or info@sevenstories.com) The Global Network can be reached at 352-337-9274 and its website is http://www.space4peace.org.

previous article [current issue] next article
Search | Archives | Calendar | Directory | About / Subscriptions |

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional eXTReMe Tracker