Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Watch This Space 

Via RawStory: As they say, everything changed after 9/11. For example, the government no longer bothers to pretend that it's interested in anything less than absolute global hegemony:
Everett Dolman, a professor at the Air Force's School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, said he expected the White House to issue a new space policy next month that would underscore the military's determination to protect its existing space assets and maintain dominance of outer space.

Space was essential to how the U.S. military fights wars, Dolman said, noting that satellites already helped relay communications among troops, provided intelligence and targeting data, and guided bombs to their destinations.

"We've crossed the threshold and we simply cannot step back," Dolman, a proponent of space weapons, told Reuters at a two-day Nuclear Policy Research Institute conference.

Dolman said the critical question was not whether the United States should weaponize space, but whether it could afford to allow other states to get a jump-start in this area.

He said work on several technologies -- including work on microsatellites that could be launched to target enemy satellites and satellite-jamming systems -- was far enough along that it could be declared operational within 18 months.

Anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott organized the conference about 50 miles outside Washington to discuss what she described as dangerous moves that could spark a new arms race in space, as well as jeopardizing weather forecasting, communications satellites and other peaceful uses of space.

She raised concerns about $130 billion that had already been spent on missile defense, backed by strong corporate lobbying efforts, and said the outlays for space weapons could be astronomically higher, while health conditions and social programs on earth continued to suffer.
Theresa Hitchens, director of the Center for Defense Information, warned that further moves by the Pentagon to weaponize space would spur reactions from China and other countries which viewed such efforts as inherently belligerent.

Space weapons would be very risky, expensive and could potentially trigger an accidental nuclear war, she added.

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