Stop Star Wars

Read the United States Space Command “Vision for 2020” at E-mail President Bush at
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It won’t work. It’ll waste $100 billion and violate existing arms control agreements. It’s already causing conflict with allies and enemies alike, and its very existence will promote a new arms race that will make the entire world less safe.

So why is the Bush administration pushing its National Missile Defense (NMD) system, the latest version of Ronald Reagan’s ill-fated “Star Wars” scheme? The answer is simple: Because President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld believe that the U.S. needs to achieve military dominance in space, and NMD is the first step toward another massive arms buildup that will benefit their buddies in the defense industry.

Today, almost 20 years after Reagan first proposed a space-based system of lasers that would protect the U.S. from incoming Soviet missiles, it’s been repeatedly demonstrated that missile defense systems don’t work. About $100 billion worth of testing (and the Patriot missile poor performance in the Gulf War) have shown that such systems are unreliable even in the absence of countermeasures such as the use of decoys or signal jamming technology.

The Bush administration skirts this issue by presenting NMD as a small-scale system designed to shoot down individual missiles launched by “rogue nations” rather than the vast nuclear umbrella Reagan envisioned. But, as noted in a recent National Intelligence Council report, the possibility that a nation like Iran or North Korea would launch a handful of missiles at the U.S. is remote. For one thing, such an attack would result in massive retaliation from U.S. nuclear forces. It’s far more likely, the report notes, that such an attack would come via non-missile delivery systems—smuggling a bomb into the country, for example—which would be cheaper, easier and would conceal the attacker’s identity.

So why is Bush pushing NMD? Because Rumsfeld believes that the U.S. needs to launch a massive offensive to achieve military superiority in space. Rumsfeld, a veteran Cold Warrior from the Nixon and Ford administrations, has endorsed the U.S. Space Command’s “Vision for 2020,” which stresses the necessity of “dominating the space medium of military options.”

Needless to say, most other nations aren’t too happy about the plan for U.S. domination in space. Russia, which still holds about 4,000 nuclear missiles, has stated that NMD will void existing arms control agreements. China has warned that it will lead to a new arms race whose only real beneficiary will be U.S. corporations. Even most allies have been wary, but the truth is that unless significant public opposition surfaces, foreign opposition will mean little.

That’s why you need to get involved. Let the president know you will not accept another costly, wasteful and dangerous arms race. Let’s stop Star Wars once and for all.