Star Wars Boosters

The Nation, January 29, 2001

By Karl Grossman and Judith Long

As soon as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney take up the reins of government, they'll give a big boost to waging war in and from space. Under their leadership, right-wing advocates of US global dominance and corporations eager for contracts will join forces with a military eager to make space the battleground of the twenty-first century.

Indeed, Star Wars--"missile defense" in the current Newspeak--is emerging as a central goal of the new Bush Administration. It is "an essential part of our strategic system," declared Colin Powell immediately upon being named as Bush's Secretary of State.

"I wrote the Republican Party's foreign policy platform," declared Bruce Jackson, vice president of corporate strategy and development at Lockheed Martin, the world's largest weapons manufacturer [see William D. Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca, "Star Wars II," June 19, 2000], which is deeply involved in space military programs. In a recent interview, Jackson said that although he was "the overall chairman of the Foreign Policy Platform Committee" at the Republican National Convention, he hasn't led the advocacy for the full development of Star Wars because "that would be an implicit conflict of interest with my day job" at Lockheed Martin.

Such advocacy, he said, has fallen to Stephen Hadley, George W. Bush's pick for deputy director of the National Security Council. Hadley, Bush Senior's assistant secetary of defense for international security policy and a member of his National Security Council, is a proud member of the Vulcans, an eight-person foreign policy team formed during the Bush campaign that includes future National Security Council director Condoleezza Rice and Reagan administation superhawk Richard Perle. The Vulcans named themselves after the Roman god of fire and metalwork and for a statue in Rice's hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, commemorating its steelmaking history.

Besides being a Vulcan, Hadley is a partner in Shea & Gardner, the Washington law firm representing Lockheed Martin. Hadley has also worked closely with Jackson on the Committee to Expand NATO--based in the offices of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute--Jackson as president, Hadley as secretary. The committee sought to enlist Eastern European countries into NATO and, of course, build the client base for Lockheed Martin weapons.

"Space is going to be important. It has a great future in the military," Hadley told the Air Force Association Convention in a September 11 speech. Introduced as "an advisor to Governor George W. Bush," Hadley said that Bush's "concern has been that the [Clinton] Administration... doesn't reflect a real commitment to missile defense. This is an Administration that has delayed on that issue and is not moving as fast as he thinks we could."

To remedy that, Bush has named as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld--a man whom the Washington Post calls the "leading proponent not only of national missile defenses, but also of U.S. efforts to take control of outer space" [see Michael T. Klare, page 14]. In 1998 Rumsfeld's commission reversed a 1995 finding by the nation's intelligence agencies that the country was not in imminent danger from ballistic missiles acquired by new powers, declaring that "rougue states" did pose such a threat. The answer? Missile defense. Trusted adviser to and financial supporter of the right-wing Center for Security Policy, Rumsfeld has been awarded its Keeper of the Flame prize. The center's advisory board includes such Star Wars promoters as Edward Teller--and, of course, Lockheed Martin executives, including Bruce Jackson.

"This so-called election was a victory for putting weapons in space, at enormous cost to US taxpayers and to world stability," declares Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Florida-based Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (www.space4peace.org). He points to Bush campaign statements about deploying "quantum leap weapons" and about Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories playing a major role in the development of "weapons that will allow America to define how wars are fought." Both labs have been deeply involved in space-based lasers, an integral part of Star Wars. In 1998 the Defense Department signed a multimillion-dollar contract for a "Space-Based Laser Readiness Demonstrator" and this past November solicited final comments on development of the program, estimated to cost between $20-$30 billion. Lockheed Martin, TRW and Boeing are the contractors. (Lynne Cheney has just resigned from the board of Lockheed Martin, Dick Cheney has been a member of the board of TRW.)

The military's would-be space warriors, meanwhile, are bullish. The U.S. Space Command's top general, Ralph "Ed" Eberhart, exhorts the Air Force to "be the space warfighters our nation needs today...and will need even more tomorrow." The Air Force command's "Almanac 2000" touts "defending America through the control and exploitation of space." The Air Force in the 2lst Century must be "globally dominant -- Tomorrow's Air Force will likely dominate the air and space around the world."

The Vulcans, Keepers of the Flame and Lockheed Martin et al. will be cheering them on.

Karl Grossman and Judith Long

Karl Grossman is the author of the forthcoming Weapons in Space (Seven Stories) and the new TV documentary Star Wars Returns (EnviroVideo 800-ECO-TV46). Judith Long is The Nation's copy editor.



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