Bush likely to back weapons in space

Bush likely to back weapons in space

Arms race feared over ‘death stars’ and ‘rods from God’

Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday May 19, 2005
The Guardian

President George Bush is expected to issue a directive in the next few weeks giving the US air force a green light for the development of space weapons, potentially triggering a new global arms race, it was reported yesterday.

The new weapons being studied range from hunter-killer satellites to orbiting weapons using lasers, radio waves, or even dense metal tubes dropped from space by a weapon known as “Rods from God” on ground targets. The national security directive on space has been sought by the air force since last year. The New York Times yesterday quoted a senior administration official as saying a decision is expected within weeks. Neither the air force nor the White House returned calls seeking comment.

The directive will replace a 1996 directive signed by Bill Clinton which was vaguely worded but which emphasised the peaceful use of space, in line with almost unanimous global opinion. Plans for potential space weapons were vetoed by the Clinton White House.

Space warfare experts said they expected the Bush administration directive to be similarly vague but also to signal a shift in attitude towards exploring ways of affirming US dominance in space militarily.

“Up to now, this has been a campaign by the air force to have the freedom to do what they want to do in space,” said Theresa Hitchens, vice-president of the Centre for Defence Information. “This will, for the first time in US history, will give them the go-ahead.”

Ms Hitchens argued the directive would trigger an arms race in space. “Let’s think of a world where US has ‘death stars’ everywhere in space that are going over countries every 10 minutes. Do you think other countries are going to accept that?” she said.

The new push to develop space weapons comes as the earth-based missile defence system, intended to hit an incoming missile with another missile and which was heavily promoted by the Bush administration, has been set back by technical problems and failed tests. The air force’s intentions were spelt out last September by General Lance Lord, head of its space command, who said satellites had given US military power a decisive advantage with their spying, communications and targeting capacities. That advantage had to be maintained by “space superiority”.

“It can be our destiny if we work it hard and continue to aggressively follow that,” he said.

The potential weapons fall into two main categories as defined by a 2002 Pentagon planning document: “space control” or anti-satellite warfare, and “space force application” or attacking the ground from orbit. The air force claims that it can design military satellites that could protect US military and civilian satellites already in orbit. However, most space experts argue that the satellites are aimed at destroying other country’s satellites.

“Space force application” weapons include the global strike programme, which envisages a space plane armed with half a ton of munitions. The “Rods from God” scheme would aim tungsten, titanium or uranium cylinders at targets on the ground from a position in low earth orbit. By the time they hit the earth they would be travelling at around 7,500mph , with the impact of a small nuclear warhead.

Another option would use mirrors to focus an intense laser beam onto terrestrial targets, referred to as a “death star” by its critics. But according to one estimate a space-based laser would cost $100m (around £55m) per target.

“It’s an enormously expensive way of hitting the ground,” said Laura Grego, a space weapons expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists. She said the “space control” satellites were more likely to be deployed, but even they could trigger an arms race. “We’re legitimising the idea of attacking other people’s satellites and we have the most to lose. This technology is diffusing rapidly,” Ms Grego said. “To be the masters of space you’d have to not allow anyone else to launch into space. But you can’t blow up everyone’s launch pads.”

guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1487124,00.html

[left]China says it opposes militarization of outer space

AFP | May 19 2005

China Thursday said it is opposed to the militarization of space, and supports international legal documents ensuring its peaceful use.

“Space is our shared treasure and we have consistently maintained the need for the peaceful use of space so as to benefit all of mankind,” foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a regular briefing.
[/left]
“We are opposed to the militarization of outer space. We support preventive measures, including the adoption of international legal documents to guarantee the peaceful use of outer space,” he said.

Kong’s remarks came a day after the White House said it was updating its space policy while denying a report that the changes under consideration could lead to the fielding of offensive and defensive weapons in space.

Even though the NY Times and the liberal press is panicing over this, it is really, really old news. The Air Force asks for these every year (which they probably should, considering their mandate). Bush hasn’t bought into it yet

[quote=gilliam]Even though the NY Times and the liberal press is panicing over this, it is really, really old news. The Air Force asks for these every year (which they probably should, considering their mandate). Bush hasn’t bought into it yet
[/quote]

You don’t understand – they make up things that Bush supposedly thinks or intends to do, then blackguard him for what they made up.

If he doesn’t do it, they complain he’s “cheating” (because they know he really WANTS to) and indict him for Failure to Conform to Stereotype.

[quote=jdnation]The air force’s intentions were spelt out last September by General Lance Lord…
[/quote]

  1. Is “spelt” really a word?

  2. Is “Lance Lord” really someones name? I mean, outside a comic book.

[quote=marcadam]1) Is “spelt” really a word?

.
[/quote]

http://www.askoxford.com/images/interface/concise_oed.gif oup.co.uk/images/covers/0-19-860713-X.gif

spelt

past and past participle of SPELL1.

askoxford.com/concise_oed/spelt?view=uk

[left]Russia Would Consider Force To Prevent Weapons In Space

Russia would consider using force if necessary to respond if the US put a combat weapon into space, according to a senior Russian official.

According to a New York Times report yesterday, the Bush administration was moving towards implementing a new space policy that would move the US closer to placing offensive and defensive weapons in space. Russia, China and many US allies oppose any weaponisation of space, partly out of concerns that it would lead to an extremely expensive post-cold war arms race.
[/left]
Vladimir Yermakov, senior counsellor at the Russian embassy in Washington, on Tuesday told a conference on space militarisation that Russia was working through diplomatic channels to urge the US not to move towards fielding weapons in space. But he said Russia would have to react, possibly with force, if the US successfully put a “combat weapon” in space.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Yermakov emphasised that Russia’s priority was to solve the problem diplomatically. Russia has voluntarily declared that it will not be the first country to place weapons in space in an effort to encourage the US to move away from space weaponisation.

Force is “not a subject for discussion right now”, Mr Yermakov said. “It depends on what happens, and why it happens, upon what agreements we have with the US government, and what understandings we have with the US government.”

He added: “Our policy is not to create situations that would lead [to] confrontation. If we don’t find such understandings with the US government, and we find ourselves in a situation where we need to react, of course we will do it.”

The White House denied that President George W. Bush was about to sign a new directive on space policy that would permit the weaponisation of space.

“The US has no intention to weaponise [space],” said a senior administration official. “The policy review was not initiated at the request of the air force or the department of defence, and the policy, while not yet finalised, would not represent a substantial shift in American policy.”

Any new policy would replace a 1996 policy implemented by the Clinton administration calling for a less militaristic approach to space. The 1967 treaty on outer space prevents countries from putting only weapons of mass destruction in space. Other countries are concerned that some of the weapons being considered by the US could be considered new types of WMD.

One weapon the air force would like to develop is the Common Aero Vehicle, which would give the US the ability to launch precision-guided strikes at any point on the globe within a short time frame. The internal US debate over whether the Pentagon needs to put weapons in space gained momentum in 2001 following the conclusions of a commission that warned of the possibility of a “space Pearl Harbor” that could destroy US commercial and military satellites.

“If the US is to avoid a ‘space Pearl Harbor’, it needs to take seriously the possibility of an attack on US space systems,” said the commission, which was chaired by Donald Rumsfeld before he became US defence secretary.

The commission’s report concluded that the US needed “superior space capabilities” to prevent and defend against hostile acts “in and from space”.

news.ft.com/cms/s/3b1030dc-c804-11d9-9765-00000e2511c8.html

Personally I think it would be cool to have great big lasers orbiting the earth with the accuracy to fry any random freak we wanted to.

That would be awesome.

[quote=jdnation][left]Russia Would Consider Force To Prevent Weapons In Space

Russia would consider using force if necessary to respond if the US put a combat weapon into space, according to a senior Russian official.
[/quote]

What are they going to do? Throw empty vodka bottles at us? They have already sold all their weapons to terrorists.

[quote=Trelow]What are they going to do? Throw empty vodka bottles at us? They have already sold all their weapons to terrorists.
[/quote]

Well they could throw nuclear weapons at you. As well Asia is highly likely to be the next world superpower if they form a union to counter the European and North American ones.

precisely whom is the united states in arms race with?
any other contenders are still at the starting line so to speak.
russias empire is basically gone. i think they are on shakey grounds economically. i don’t think china has the infrastructure, yet.

unless the us is thinking of dominating the world. God forbid!

[quote=jjwilkman]precisely whom is the united states in arms race with?
any other contenders are still at the starting line so to speak.
russias empire is basically gone. i think they are on shakey grounds economically. i don’t think china has the infrastructure, yet.

unless the us is thinking of dominating the world. God forbid!
[/quote]

China has the largest army in the world and are a nuclear power. They don’t have a ‘blue water’ Navy but they are building one. I don’t know anything about their air force. They are they largest “peer” force to the US

Russia is not much of a threat unless their nukes get into the wrong hands.

[quote=gilliam]China has the largest army in the world and are a nuclear power. They don’t have a ‘blue water’ Navy but they are building one. I don’t know anything about their air force. They are they largest “peer” force to the US

Russia is not much of a threat unless their nukes get into the wrong hands.
[/quote]

Neither China nor the Soviet Union can prevent us from putting up a deefensive anti-missile shield. In fact, given the current state of the world, it would benefit them as much as us – since rogue nations with a few missiles would be effectively checkmated.

[quote=vern humphrey]Neither China nor the Soviet Union can prevent us from putting up a deefensive anti-missile shield. In fact, given the current state of the world, it would benefit them as much as us – since rogue nations with a few missiles would be effectively checkmated.
[/quote]

Hmmm… I get the feeling that’s the same wooly thinking that resulted in 9/11

YES!! We get our very own Death Star. Can I have a Storm Trooper outfit too?

I’d rather have a Millenium Falcon, Will there be any Wookies?

Sounds like “Star Wars” to me

[quote=vern humphrey]Neither China nor the Soviet Union can prevent us from putting up a deefensive anti-missile shield. In fact, given the current state of the world, it would benefit them as much as us – since rogue nations with a few missiles would be effectively checkmated.
[/quote]

Sure, and that is what we should do IMHO

[quote=gilliam]Sure, and that is what we should do IMHO
[/quote]

Absolutely right – if we don’t, the first time a nuke takes out an American city, all the people who opposed a missile defense will be screaming for blood.

Failure to act now will have worse consequences than failure to take out Al Qaeda after the USS Cole bombing and the African embassies bombings.

I think the concern of other countries like China and Russia is that America wont simply use it as a shield, but possibly as an offensive weapon. And if the US does use it primarily as a shield and then goes rogue it would present difficultues to put down the government and liberate the American people. In other words, in order to prevent a possible rogue nation that the US itself could become, a pre-emptive strike would be considered to keep them from gaining any power.

[quote=jdnation]I think the concern of other countries like China and Russia is that America wont simply use it as a shield, but possibly as an offensive weapon. And if the US does use it primarily as a shield and then goes rogue it would present difficultues to put down the government and liberate the American people. In other words, in order to prevent a possible rogue nation that the US itself could become, a pre-emptive strike would be considered to keep them from gaining any power.
[/quote]

Who’s going to launch this pre-emptive strike?

The only nation with enough rockets to make it worthwhile is Russia – and Russia knows the consequences of trying THAT.

[quote=jdnation]I think the concern of other countries like China and Russia is that America wont simply use it as a shield, but possibly as an offensive weapon. And if the US does use it primarily as a shield and then goes rogue it would present difficultues to put down the government and liberate the American people. In other words, in order to prevent a possible rogue nation that the US itself could become, a pre-emptive strike would be considered to keep them from gaining any power.
[/quote]

They shoot very weak lasers and other weak weapons at missles and satellites. They don’t reach the Earth. I don’t know how you would use them as an offensive weapon unless you shoot down someone’s satellite. Even then, you are opening up yourself to a counter strike.

Personally, I think it is just envy and they want to make sure they can hurt the US somehow.

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