MAR 2001


by Thom Saffold

The new Prez has ordered a thoroughgoing review of the nation’s military establishment and is threatening to make some changes. Pundits are predicting a big cut in nuclear weapons. That sounds like good news.

Peace advocates have argued for years that nukes are dangerous and costly instruments used only to arrogantly project American power over the world. Could it be that the "compassionate conservative" is a peacenik at heart? Could it be that Shrub is some sort of "stealth" good guy, poised to tame the unholy alliance between corporations and the military that Eisenhower called "The Military Industrial Complex"?

The review is on an extraordinarily fast track. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld ordered specific recommendations by the middle of March. Bush said the goal is to set a "long-range vision for the military."

George Bush, Sr. was criticized for lacking "the vision thing." Dubya didn’t have to worry about creating one. The power elite, of which he is an heir and member, developed a vision for him, and it is clear that his cabinet will have no problems with it. This vision will become a world nightmare unless people organize, quickly, to oppose it.

Bush, Jr. and his cronies are not interested in peace, at least not peace with any sort of justice. In fact, there are two fundamental reasons the Military Industrial Complex is now willing to let go of the incredible cash cow that has enriched them for 50 years.

First, the Corporate Military knows that they are not ever likely to really use nukes, despite their claims of how essential the nuclear weapons system has been to American "national defense." They have always known that using nuclear weapons would be very messy, and that radiation from them would be bad for the only people they value, namely, members of the power elite.

Second, the Corporate Military has quietly been developing weapons systems that will make even more money for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, TRW and other defense contractors, a/k/a arms manufacturers, a/k/a merchants of death.

These weapons also promise to be far more deadly against our "enemies," less potentially dangerous to rich white males and their families, and more effective in attaining their goals.

No longer content with the world dominance created by ruthless use of US military and economic might, the Pentagon and the corporate world have a stark plan for complete world domination and control. That is their vision, and they spell it out—in full color, with pictures—in a document called "Vision for 2020," available on the web or in an attractive 16-page magazine, courtesy of the US Space Command.

That’s right, the US Space Command. Not a video game, not the governing agency on a sci-fi series … it is an official part of the US military.

And, boy, do they have goals!

Control of space, that’s Numero Uno. Second is "Global Engagement"—the ability to control any part of the earth militarily with "Full Force Integration" of land, sea, air and space weapons. Fourth is "Global Partnership," which sounds warm and fuzzy until one realizes that the partnership is between weapons manufacturers, the US military, and the militaries of whichever nations we deem our allies.

The US Space Command’s Vision for 2020 proudly declares: "US Space Command: Dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US national interests [read: corporate profits] and investment. Integrating Space Forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict."

"Warfighting" is a word that comes up a lot in the Vision, and in the many other documents, speeches and papers found on the USSPACECOM’s website:

The warfighting of the future is modeled on the wars the US Corporate Military have "fought" in the past decade, such as the Gulf War, the Embargo War, and the Yugoslavian War. In each of these, our military has shown that they can wreak carnage on civilians and militaries of other nations with few casualties (in the case of the Gulf War … we suffered more American casualties in training than in actual combat) or with no casualties, as in the 10-year punishing of Iraq and the air war against Kosovo and Serbia.

Eliminating American casualties is essential to modern US warfighting, because the American public has proven that it does not mind if the US military slaughters hundreds of thousands of foreigners, as long as it doesn’t see too much blood, and few or no Americans come home in body bags. That, and keeping the press from covering the carnage, is called "kicking the Vietnam War Syndrome."

This strategy will be perfected when the US Space Command is able to use Space-Based Laser (SBL) weapons that it is currently developing with the help of our Good Friend and Ally Committed to Peace and Democracy, Israel. In fact, The Two Great Democracies have already successfully tested the primary operational components of SBLs in live fire tests.

That’s right, laser weapons in space. Check out page 15 of the Vision for 2020 and you will see an artist’s rendition of it in action. It is not as grand as the fictional Death Star in the first Star Wars flick, but it is clearly incinerating a city in the Middle East.

And if you think this is fantasy, think again.

Keith R. Hall, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Space) and Director, National Reconnaissance Office gave a presentation to the Senate Subcommittee on Strategic Forces on March 8 of last year, and spoke about the Space Based Laser: "The Air Force and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) awarded a Joint Venture (JV) contract in February 1999 to the SBL Community Team of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and TRW. The SBL team will develop an Integrated Flight Experiment (IFX) to accomplish the technical advancement and collection of engineering data needed to make sound decisions on the future of an operational SBL system. The IFX will integrate the high energy laser, beam control system, and acquisition, tracking, and pointing elements into a space platform." They expect a "launch in the 2010-2012 time frame."

Oh, yes, they are very serious about this and a whole range of deadly weapons. Hall said the aim is to "facilitate the delivery of precise military firepower anywhere in the world, day or night, in all weather. Our goal is to find, fix, track, and target anything of significance worldwide and to ensure targets are engaged by the most appropriate means available. This capability will allow the US to maintain a non-intrusive global presence and deliver precision weapons on target to maximize combat power while minimizing collateral damage." Hall’s full speech is on the web at:

Can anyone say "blitzkrieg" and "Heil Fuhrer"?

Of course, the Bush administration, like its predecessor, is not presenting any of this information to the public. Notice that Hall said, "This capability will allow the US to maintain a non-intrusive global presence" and still be able to whack anybody, anytime, anywhere. That sure sounds intrusive from the point of view of the nations attacked. What Hall means by "non-intrusive" is that this system will no longer require US soldiers and gunboats all around the globe to impose American hegemony. Now we will use high-tech killing machines that will make the bombs that incinerated about 2000 civilians in Iraq’s Amariya bomb shelter look puny and crude.

"Non-intrusive" also means that all this warfighting will not intrude into the consciousness of the average American.

The Bush administration, again like its predecessors, is instead emphasizing a nationwide defense against missile attack, which the Bush hacks are calling National Missile Defense, or NMD.

The new vice president, secretary of defense, and secretary of state are fanatical in their support of NMD. They talk about the need to protect us from all those "rogue" nations out there with which both Democratic and Republican administrations love to scare us. The NMD (a warmed-over version of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative) would shoot down nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons fired at the US from our "enemies."

During his confirmation hearings, Colin Powell even claimed, "In the end of the day, it will benefit the world."

What he fails to mention is what every foot soldier knows, that no weapon is purely defensive. Offensive and defensive systems are virtually impossible to separate. It depends on who is writing the history or arguing their cause. For example, an anti-ballistic-missile system is a great offensive tool when paired with a large array of nuclear missiles targeted at the other side, which is exactly what we do. One can enhance one’s own power by diminishing the effectiveness of the arsenal of the other side. Offense or defense?

The reason given for the recent bombing of Baghdad was to "defend our pilots." From what? Were the Iraqis firing weapons at our planes? No, the planes were not even in the area and had to use long-range missiles to attack. All the Iraqis were doing was developing better radar to track illegally invading US and British planes. This demonstrates that the United States is committed to the idea that any nation that even prepares to defend itself against us is a threat.

As Vision for 2020 says, "Although unlikely to be challenged by a global peer competitor, the United States will continue to be challenged regionally." The Corporate Military is prepared to utterly intimidate or destroy any nation that dares to challenge our rule in any way.

Bush’s Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has recently warned of a "Space Pearl Harbor." Other nations, he says, may find ways of disrupting or destroying our nation’s commercial and military satellites, so we must develop weapons that can protect them—and us. Such weapons, obviously, could also be used offensively.

A news article on recent testimony by Rumsfeld said, "The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans nuclear arms or weapons of mass destruction in space but remains vague on weapons such as space lasers, according to Spurgeon Keeny, head of the Arms Control Association."

In fact, the US Space Command’s stated goal of space domination and control makes a mockery of the purpose of the Outer Space Treaty with its twin goals of peaceful uses of space and space as the common heritage of all humankind.

Far from being vague, the Treaty stipulates clear principles, including:

**the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all [hu]mankind;

**outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;

**outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;

**States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner.

If "rogue nation" means a nation which flaunts UN resolutions, uses its military might against civilians, engages in illegal arms sales, and in other serious ways violates international law, then the United States is the world’s leading rogue nation.

To engineer the technical means of complete world rule by becoming Masters of Space (the motto of the 50th Space Wing), the US has partnered with the second leading rogue nation, Israel. With its 20-year occupation of Lebanon, and 50-year brutal occupation of Palestine—both condemned repeatedly by the UN, and both clear violations of international law), Israel has a lot of experience in being rogue.

Two projects in particular are at the center of this partnership. Israel and the US have successfully tested the Arrow "anti­tactical ballistic missile" program and the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) program, both of which the US heavily underwrites. The most recent US-Israel joint maneuver of missiles and missile defense systems was in the Negev desert on February 19.

World opinion is very much opposed to the US plans. On November 1, 1999, for example, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution entitled "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space" which reiterated and reaffirmed the 1967 Treaty. The vote was 138-0, with two abstentions.

The two abstaining nations were the United States and Israel.

The U of M Student Greens are presenting an anti-National Missile Defense teach-in entitled "Today’s Dr. Strangelove" on Wednesday, March 7th in Angell Hall Auditorium C, starting at 6:30 PM. It will be an informative, awareness-raising event with speakers, an overhead slide show on the US Space Command, and a viewing of Stanley Kubrick’s 60’s classic film Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb.


Military Industrial Complex propaganda:

Space Daily: Your Portal to Space

Spacewar: Your Portal to Military Space:

SPAWAR – (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command):

Voices of Sanity:

Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space:

Abolition 2000:



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