Don’t Worry World, It’s Only Us

Space Defense Program Gets Extra Funding

By Walter Pincus

Monday, November 12, 2007; Page A19
While wrestling with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon is preparing weapons to fight the next battle from space, according to information in the 621-page, House-Senate conference report on the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations bill.

The $459 billion bill, which awaits President Bush’s signature, provides $100 million for a new “prompt global strike” program that could deliver a conventional, precision-guided warhead anywhere in the world within two hours.

Conferees added $100 million above the Bush administration’s request for nearly $200 million to accelerate “space situational awareness.” That is code for protecting U.S. satellites in space and being able to attack the enemy’s satellites. “Enhancing these capabilities is critical, particularly following the Chinese anti-satellite-weapons demonstration last January,” the conferees wrote in their report.

Part of the funding will also go toward work on integrating this system, which detects enemy threats to U.S. satellites, with the offensive counterspace and counter satellite communications programs.

Eventually, they would be linked with U.S. command-and-control systems “in support of space control and the counterspace mission areas,” according to the Pentagon’s presentation to Congress.

So, if I’m out there somewhere in that vast part of the world that is not America–a place a great many folks live–what am I to make of this?

America’s Pentagon, that bee-hive of activity that was run by Donald Rumsfeld (before Iraq went so wrong and he was canned) is preparing weapons to fight the next battle from space.

Shock and Awe is not only going to be more shocking and additionally awesome, but it will taste better, be less fattening and come to you from an orbit in your neighborhood. An obit from orbit.

Those nasty little details that keep us from pre-empting additional wars (like massing troops and equipment) will now be de classe and the new parameter is going to make evil-doers shake in their living-rooms, or parliaments, or wherever evil-doers do evil.

If Vladimir Putin had just announced such a plan, America would be dialing up to war footing. Should China announce to the world that it would soon launch a system that linked with Chinese command and control systems in support of space control and their concept of a counterspace mission, we’d fall out of bed with a thump heard round the globe.

“Don’t worry world, it’s only us” is insupportable rhetoric in most foreign capitols and can only lead to what a huge part of the military-industrial complex prays for–an arms race to replace the one that sustained those industries for fifty years.

Hand-wringing Democrats who don’t know how to get us out of the war that they enabled, won’t have the vaguest idea of how to defeat this gentle push over the edge either. A lessening of world tensions and the gravitational pull toward peace isn’t worth the risk of being accused of going soft on terrorists.

Nothing is worth that risk anymore.

So, just when it seemed safe to go back into the water, a new breed of shark has been conjured up to circle the capitols of the world. Russia must respond, as they have already threatened in the wake of our Czech-Polish radar system and China will have it’s eye turned toward wrecking Western communications satellites. It’ll be a dandy time again for sword-rattlers and bomb-throwers.

But do you suppose anyone has run this past Rupert Murdoch?

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