Missile Defense is a Trojan Horse

Control and Domination the Reality of Space Program

by Bruce Gagnon

Resist newsletter. October 2001


Missile defense is a Trojan horse. The Pentagon tells the American people, and the rest of the world, that missile defense is a gift to protect us from attack by a rogue state that might send a nuclear weapon toward the US. The recent terrorist attacks in NYC and DC clearly reveal that anyone thinking of attacking the US will not do so with a missile that leaves an easily traceable "signature." Instead, terrorists will find ways to "underfly" Star Wars systems and bring bombs to American targets via suitcases or small boats. If the US really wants to protect itself, the best thing to do would be to hold a real national dialogue about why people around the world are so upset with our economic and military policies. Initiatives like Star Wars distract people from the real dialogue and horde resources in its construction.

Documents like the Space Command's Vision for 2020 and the recent Rumsfeld Commission report clearly indicate that US plans for space are really about "control and domination" of the heavens and the Earth below. Vision for 2020 is a US Space Command planning document that explicitly calls for the US to control and dominate space. Appointed by Newt Gingrich, the Rumsfeld Commission issued a report saying that the US faced a viable threat of nuclear weapons, and that such a threat would be minimized by a "defense" shield. Developing the ability to "deny other countries access to space," Vision 2020 notes, will allow the US to be the "Master of Space."

The politicians and their aerospace corporation allies know that they can't come to the American people and ask for hundreds of billions of dollars for an "offensive" space warfare program, especially when our traditional nuclear enemies are eager to negotiate arms reductions. But by dressing the program up as some kind of gigantic present, and calling it missile defense, the Pentagon has effectively shifted the debate away from their true plans.

The recent appointment by George W. Bush of General Richard Meyers to be the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is an indication of the direction the Pentagon is heading. Gen. Meyers, the former head of the US Space Command, will be responsible for consolidating support for the nuclearization and weaponization of space within the military and selling it to the Congress and the public.

Simulated War Games

Last January, the US Space Command held a simulated computer warfare "game" set in the year 2017. The "Blues" (US) went to war with the "Reds" (China). The Blue team launched a preemptive first-strike attack on China using the military space plane, the now planned successor to NASA's space shuttle.

The second weapon used in the January computer war game was the space-based laser (SBL). The SBL is a resurrected technology from Ronald Reagan's Star Wars vision that would be an orbiting battle station whose laser would knock out other countries' satellites in space and hit targets on the Earth below. Last December the Pentagon announced the start of the SBL testing program at NASA's Stennis Missile Center in southwest Mississippi. By the year 2012 they hope to deploy the first operational SBL to be eventually followed by a constellation of 18-48 of the weapons orbiting the planet. Power for the SBL would be provided by on-board nuclear reactors. The Pentagon estimates the SBL testing program will cost over $30 billion.

Lockheed Martin, TRW, Boeing, and Raytheon are the top four Star Wars contractors. Their campaign contributions to Republicans and Democrats alike have paved the road for nearly unchallenged appropriations of research and development (R & D) funding for the many different technologies now under way. The Pentagon figures that by opening up many different Star Wars project lines that they will be able to increase the money flow and over time get some of them to work. So-called missile defense systems thus get the pipeline moving.

The Machinists Union has recently produced a video called Bombs Bursting in Air that promotes the "missile defense" program and calls upon both parties to fund a "robust" R & D effort. Bush is asking for $8.3 billion for Star Wars R & D in 2002 and it appears that Congress will give him the bulk of that request.

It is possible to conclude that before it is finished, the new Star Wars program will cost many hundreds of billions of dollars. (Already over $120 billion has been wasted on space weapons development since the Eisenhower administration began work on the technologies with the help of ex-Nazi rocket scientists following WW II.) Knowing that recent tax cuts will eat up the national budget surplus, it is easy to see that further funding for Star Wars will be paid for by raiding human needs programs like Social Security, health care, family farm subsidies, education, day care, and the like. Funding for enforcement of the Endangered Species Act struggles to survive with a meager $6 million annual appropriation while Star Wars rages on.

Market Weapons for Profit

It is always important to remember that the number one industrial export of the US today is weapons. If shoes were our principal export product we'd have a global marketing strategy to put a shoe on every person's foot in the whole world. But when weapons are your chief export, what is the marketing strategy?

Try regional instability. Today the US arms all sides in the Middle East and the region is total chaos. The US is now moving to create the same situation in the Asian-Pacific region by expanding US military operations in that part of the world and by selling weapons to South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and more.

The Washington Post, in a May 26, 2000 article, stated that the US will now begin to "manage China." Today the US is widening and lengthening the runways on Guam and Wake Island in the Pacific to handle the B- I and B-2 bombers. Cruise missiles are being prepositioned on Guam and a new program, Theatre Missile Defense (TMD), is being planned for deployment surrounding China.

China has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the continental US while we have 7,500 that could "hit" China back. Unlike Russia, which is now fully under the control of the IMF and World Bank and is virtually surrounded by an expanding NATO, China remains the one independent actor in the world today not fully under US corporate control.

TMD systems would be forward deployed on the air, land, and sea and would allow the US to virtually surround the coastal regions of China. TMD systems are designed to immediately hit missiles in what is called their "boost phase." Deploying TMD systems around China will force them to decide if they should respond by increasing their own military capability, thus giving the US weapons industry the gift they are after-a new enemy and the justification for a new arms race.

Today we hear many leading Democrats say they are opposed to deployment of National Missile Defense (NMD), the system designed to protect the continental US from attack by hitting a bullet with a bullet while the "offending" missile is high above in deep space. (Interestingly, the Democrats voted overwhelmingly in support of deployment of missile defense in April, 1999. The House voted 345-71 and the Senate 97-3.) While Democrats routinely claim opposition to deployment of NMD, they strongly support deployment of Theatre Missile Defense and they are pushing the "robust" R & D program for the whole Star Wars program.

The underlying issue at hand is corporate global control and domination. The US Space Command is viewed as the new military arm of the corporate globalization effort. The Vision for 2020 states that due to current economic realities the gap between "haves and have nots" will be widening in coming years. As a result, the Space Command maintains that there will be more regional instability as workers organize to oppose slave labor working conditions and a loss of democratic rights. By developing the new program of "control and domination" from space, the US Pentagon intends to suppress any "regional" hotspot without having to commit major troop deployments. All warfare on the Earth is now coordinated from space. Those who control space will be in a position to be the Masters of Space and the Earth.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has called for an "International Day of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space" on October 13. Local actions are being planned in over 17 countries and at nearly 100 sites including US military bases, aerospace corporation facilities, federal buildings, and embassies.

We must create a global debate about the real intentions of U.S. Star Wars plans. Missile defense must be revealed for the sham that it is. We must show the public documents like Vision for 2020 and make the case that the weaponization of space will create more global instability rather than make us more secure. And we must remind the public that our government will not be able to deliver on social spending promises while paying for space weapons research and development.

More than a technical question, the whole Star Wars program being promoted by both major parties is a moral and ethical issue. What right does the US have to move the arms race into the heavens? What will be the environmental consequences when space-based lasers, powered with nuclear reactors, tumble back to Earth and spread deadly plutonium worldwide as the satellite burns up upon hitting the atmosphere?

This debate must be taken into our local communities, to the very front door of those who are working to create a new arms race in space. We must move now to keep space for peace.

Bruce Gagnon is the director of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, which received a grant from Resist in 1999. For more information, and a list of resources, contact them at PO Box 90083, Gainesville, FL 32607; www.space4peace.org; globalnet@mindspring.com. The following resources may be obtained from the Global Network:

Militarization of Space page

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