Activist Discusses Space Development
Militarization, arms race condemned in talk
13 September 2002
Speaking before a group of Cornell students Thursday night, activist Bruce Gagnon condemned the U.S. military's monopoly on the country's space program.
"Militarists are beginning to mess with God's creation," Gagnon said, adding that he predicts the development of a military system in space parallel to the one on Earth.
"We must create global debate about this ideology," he said.
Gagnon, coordinator of the Florida-based Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, spoke as part of a Cornell Forum for Justice and Peace lecture series organized in remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Gagnon went on to speak about Nazi scientists developing rockets and missiles for the U.S., the control and mastery of space and the military's spending policies.
NASA got its start through association and collaboration with Nazi scientists, according to Gagnon.
"I was struck by the ideological similarities between the slogans 'master race' and 'master space,'" he said.
Gagnon also compared Christopher Columbus and european mercantilism to moving the arms race into space.
He specifically attacked the Theater Missile Defense (TMD) program, which would be "forward deployed" in regions of conflict to knock out nuclear weapons in their boost phase. Such programs would have a tendency to provoke nations rather than promote defense, he said.
Richard Huddleston '04 -- who held an internship with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), a group of small companies that did some work for the TMD program -- agreed with Gagnon's assessment of the program.
"Military plays a large role in policy lobbying and in my experience working for SBIR I've seen the unreliability of the system, and I'd rather have mutual disarmament," he said.
Others students at the lecture said Gagnon piqued their interest in and awareness of moving the arms race into space.
"It increased my concern about the nuclear reactors and the effects on the environment and our well being," Nicole McMahon '05 said.
After Gagnon spoke, Prof. Matthew Evangelista, government, offered his views on the militarization of space.
"The insanity of it is only dwarfed the immorality of it," Evangelista said.
Gagnon said he devotes his life to provoking awareness and debate about the militarization of space by traveling around the nation to speak to students and communities.
"I believe my job is to create the debate," he said.