14 August 2018
Turning Space into a War Zone
by Karl Grossman
The Trump administration is pushing hard on its scheme to create a Space Force. Last week Vice President Pence, chairman of a newly reconstituted National Space Council, in a speech at the Pentagon declared: "The time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield."
Pence claimed - falsely: "Our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already and the United States will not shrink from the challenge."
Trump, who in June announced he was "directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces," following Pence's address Thursday promptly tweeted: "Space Force all the way!"
At the same time, signaling that the Space Force drive will be used politically, the Trump campaign organization sent out an email asking supporters to choose between six Space Force logos that were depicted. "President Trump wants a Space Force - a groundbreaking endeavor for the future of America and the final frontier," wrote Brad Parscale, campaign manager of 'Donald J. Trump for President, 2020.' "To celebrate President Trump's huge announcement, our campaign will be selling a new line of gear." He asked backers pick "your favorite logo."
"This is a crucial moment where the public must stand and say 'hell no!'" said Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, on his blog. "Star Wars isn't affordable, is an insane idea, and would very likely lead to WW III - the final war," said Gagnon.
The Global Network, based in Maine and founded in 1992, decided at its annual meeting, in June in Oxford, United Kingdom, to have the Space Force scheme be the target of its 'International Week of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space.'
It will be held between October 6 and 13 with protests and other actions against the Space Force plan happening throughout the United States and internationally. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Chapter, is the co-sponsor.
"How in the world can our bankrupt nation afford to pay for Star Wars which the aerospace industry has long claimed would be the largest industrial project in human history?" said Gagnon. "The only way is to completely destroy social progress - cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what little is left of the welfare program. Are you going to stand for that?"
The poster the Global Network is using for the week is headed 'No Space Force' and features a dour Trump in a Darth Vader helmet. Under this are 'Space for Peace' and this explanation: "Trump has announced plans for a Space Force?a separate military service which would ensure US 'control and domination' of space on behalf of corporate interests. China, Russia and other space-faring nations would be its targets. Under aerospace industry pressure this proposal would necessitate massive amounts of taxpayer dollars. We call it Pyramids to the Heavens. Congress will have final approval of Trump's proposal. The U.N.'s Outer Space Treaty and Moon Treaties declare that space must be preserved for all of humanity. Help us defeat plans to weaponize space. Work to protect social progress on Earth rather than a new arms race in space. #No Space Force."
If Donald Trump gets his way and there is a U.S. Space Force, the heavens would become a war zone, there would indeed be an 'arms race in space,' and inevitably war in space.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis introducing Pence at his Pentagon appearance, said a Space Force is needed because space "is becoming a contested-war-fighting domain." In reality, like Pence's declaration - "Our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already" - it isn't true.
That's in part because of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which designates space as a global commons to be used for peaceful purposes - of which Russia and China and the U.S.are parties. Indeed, the U.S. along with the U.K. and the Soviet Union, worked together in assembling the treaty.
As Craig Eisendrath, who had been a U.S. State Department officer involved in its creation noted in the 2001 TV documentary I wrote and narrate, 'Star Wars Returns,' the Soviet Union had launched the first space satellite, Sputnik, in 1957 and "we sought to de-weaponize space before it got weaponized - to keep war out of space."