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Why We Oppose "Star Wars II"
statement to White House rally against Missile "Defense"
June 10, 2001, Lafayette Park
by Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF (ret)
(former director of "Star Wars" programs)
We're gathered here to oppose "Star Wars II," Bush and Rumsfeld's attempt to put new offensive weapons in space, in 747 aircraft, and on ships at sea, and to disguise it all as a "defensive shield." But why do we oppose it, and what do we offer in its place?
Speakers today have condemned it as an unworkable boondoggle, an immense waste of money, and as welfare for the weapons manufacturers. And it is. But it is much worse than that. If they could prove that it would work, and if it was free, I still wouldn't want it because these offensive weapons would concentrate even more power in the hands of the wealthy few and increase the nuclear danger to the rest of us.
"Star Wars" weapons are so vulnerable, they will be of no possible use to an innocent party sitting back waiting to be attacked. They are only useful to an aggressor with the element of surprise on his side. They also have pure offensive uses -- destroying opposing satellites, seizing military control of space, and destroying targets on the surface of the earth from space without warning. Of course it won't work as a defensive shield. But they don't care, because that's not what it is! They don't care that "Star Wars II" weapons will be useless against the non-existent ICBMs of the "states of concern."
These weapons will also be useless against the far more real threat of nuclear terrorism. No "Star Wars II" weapon will do any good against a terrorist with a rental truck. But by increasing the apparent U.S. military superiority, these weapons will increase the fear and hatred of people in the developing nations toward our government and therefore increase the terrorist threat.
"Star Wars II" will give the hawks in the Pentagon the offensive weapons they covet for "mastery of space" and for bombing earth from space. It will give the multinational corporations and banks absolute military superiority to back up their "gunboat diplomacy" around the world. It will line the pockets of weapons manufacturers for decades to come. It will undo decades of progress on arms control with Russia. It will cause the Chinese to vastly increase the 20 nuclear weapons they now point at the United States. It will drive a wedge between us and many of our allies. It will enormously increase the chances that terrorists will use weapons of mass destruction against our people. There's a lot it will do -- all of it bad. This is not just a waste of money; it is much, much worse. We must and WILL stop it.
But if we are not just a bunch of "naysayers," what do we offer in its place? How can we deal with the very real threat of nuclear terrorism? First, we have to understand that we are the target of terrorists because our government is feared and hated, and for good reason. For decades our government has been doing hateful things to people all around the world -- in Iran, in Chile, in Vietnam, in Bosnia, in Yugoslavia, in Iraq, and time and time again in Central America. The only way we can be secure from the threat of nuclear terrorism is to get control of our government and stop it from doing hateful things to people in our name. It's time for us to have a government that reflects the values and goodness of the American people.
Our values and goodness are not reflected by a government which uses our youth and our money to train death squads in the techniques of torture, intimidation, and assassination. It's time for the School of the Americas to be closed.
Our values and goodness are not reflected by a government which places an illegal secondary embargo on the impoverished people of Cuba. It's time to end the embargo of Cuba.
Finally, our values and goodness are not reflected by a government which sends our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so the oil companies can sell the oil under their sand, making huge profits for themselves and making us the target of terrorists. It's time for us to be the good guys. No more Iraqs. No more El Salvadors. No more Kosovos. No more!
These are not isolated acts of stupidity. They are part of a long bloody history of foreign policy conducted for the financial interests of the wealthy few. It is a new colonialism, it endangers our national security, and it must end.
We need a person in that White House who will use the men and women in our armed forces to protect our people, not the financial interests of Folgers, Chiquita Banana, and Exxon. We need someone who will close the School of the Americas, end the sanctions against Iraq, stop the embargo of Cuba, halt the rape of Serbia, abolish the CIA, pull out of the World Trade Organization, bring our overseas troops home, and pardon Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal.
We must build an America at peace with the world and with its own people … an America that seeks not to be king of the hill or master of space, but to be a responsible sovereign member of the family of nations … an America no longer feared and hated … an America that leads the world -- not by dominating and manipulating other nations, but by earning their respect and admiration … an America that leads the world -- not with military might, but with its vision, its compassion, its democracy, its freedom, its productivity, its standard of living, its treatment of its own people, and its goodness. That's the kind of America we must build. That kind of America will not need weapons in space.
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