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Commentary :: DNC
Morons in Space
27 Jan 2004
state and corporate interests collude to militarize and colonize space
Morons in Space
Not surprisingly, many space enthusiasts, as well as more casually interested observers, are quite excited about George W. Bush's recent announcement that the U.S. plans to commit $50-150 billion dollars to its space program. This announcement has been a timely one, indeed, for the Bush administration. The growing domestic opposition to his foreign policy in Iraq coupled with the fact that the much ballyhooed period of economic growth experienced by the U.S. has been a jobless one has made it necessary for Dubya to razzle-dazzle the electorate in an elction year with starry-eyed plans to revisit the moon, establish permanent bases there, and to undertake a bold and daring mission to Mars. Anyone the least bit interested in space exploration would quite naturally be hard-pressed to contain their excitement at such prospects. A closer examination of U.S. space policy reveals a far more insidious picture, though.

Despite all the self-serving feel-good rhetoric that will undoubtedly emanate from the White House and NASA over the coming months and years, U.S. space policy is becoming more blatantly orinted toward the militarization of space, not the more benign aims of research and exploration in the common interests of humanity. Both the Soviet Union and China have made overtures towards the U.S. to begin formulating a treaty that would ban the proliferation of weapons in space. Imperialist powers themselves, their motivations have more to do with the fact that neither country can afford an expensive arms race in space, otherwise their policy directives would likely mirror those of the U.S. Still, the opportunity to extend the lines of cooperation to keep the gravity-well between the Earth and the Moon weapon-free IS there. Bush's line, however, has been that there are currently no weapons in space and thus no need to begin negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Strategic Defence Initiative steams ahead. There have been a number of embarrassing technological mishaps and cost overrun embarrassments. Bush's "solution" has been to increase funding and make all future testing top-secret (how's that for democracy?). And, the U.S. has committed $4.8 billion to create a line of sleek new space-planes to replace the shuttle-fleet. When these beauties are unveiled before the eyes of the human community, it should be kept in mind that they are designed to attack and destroy the satellites of any potential rivals or enemies of the U.S. in space. So, there may be no weapons in space at the now, but these initiatives, as well as the recent agreement on the part of NASA, the NRO (National Reconnaisance Office), the U.S. Strategic Command and the Airforce to integrate their research and development efforts are all powerful indicators that there will be in the future. The creation of Project Prometheus, a highly dangerous and expensive plan to launch a nuclear rocket into space is particularly ominous.

The fact that the U.S. has made it clear that it will not tolerate any challenges to its hegemony in space also doesn't bode very well for humanity's prospects for peace in the heavens. The presence of Helium-3, a fuel that is bountiful on the moon and a potential replacement for dwindling and thus costly fossil-fuels on Earth, have corporate interests in the U.S. drooling at the prospect of a monopoly. So, within hours of China's triumphant foray into the cosmos in 2003, the U.S. had already begun sabre-rattling. Instead of congratulating them on becoming only the third nation in history to become space-capable, several prominent figures within the U.S. military-industrial complex made gloomy predictions about outer-space becoming the site of a future showdown between the space superpowers. Even science-writer Lawrence Joseph predicted in the pages of the New York Times that the moon would become the Persian Gulf of the 21st Century.

These three highly informative pieces featuring space activist Bruce Gagnon go into further detail regarding how state and corporate interests in the U.S. are colluding to ensure that outer-space becomes not a realm for exploration and discovery for the possible benefit of humanity, but a militarized zone that will allow them to further consolidate their control on the planetary economy and its attendant work/war machine, as well as extend its rapacious logic to the stars:

For a lot more info about the race to militarize and colonize space, see:

This work is in the public domain
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