Solar power, not Star Wars

IssueDecember 2007 - January 2008
Feature by Bruce Gagnon

In 2005, US Space Command published Strategic Master Plan: FY06 and Beyond, which boldly stated: “Air Force doctrine views air, space, and information as key ingredients for dominating the battle space and ensuring superiority. While our ultimate goals are truly to `exploit' space, we cannot fully `exploit' that medium until we first `control' it.” [Full document at ]

Space satellites were vital in the invasion of Iraq. In the initial attack, 70% of weapons were directed to their targets by space technology.

Whoever controls space wins all the wars on the Earth below.

In October 2006 (during the annual Keep Space for Peace Week organised by the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space), Bush announced a new National Space Policy giving the Pentagon the green light to develop space weapons capable of destroying satellites. China quickly responded by firing a rudimentary anti-satellite weapon, blowing up one of its own old satellites as a way of saying to Bush: “You will not be the master of space.”

Industrial complex

Weapons are now the number one industrial export of the US. In that situation, what is your global marketing strategy for your top product line?

Industrial jobs in the US are drying up fast. We have no industrial policy in the US anymore, except military production.

In Colorado Springs, Colorado, there are five military bases and countless aerospace production facilities. In a city with a population of 357,000 people, 47% of the residents now work for the military-industrial complex.

A sustainable economy

And yet global warming is a fact of life. Why aren't citizens demanding that our tax dollars be used to expand the production of sustainable technologies? Imagine the jobs created by building the industrial capacity to put a solar system on every house and business in the US!

Japan is the world's leading producer of solar power and Germany, which consumes 39% of all solar panels in the world, is buying up most of the existing stocks. Why can't we build solar instead of Star Wars?

In Copenhagen, Denmark, they have converted a shipyard to become the world's leading producer of windmills. Germany now generates 5% of its electricity with wind power, and appears on track to meet government targets of 25% by 2025. Why can't we build windmills instead of weapons?

The big “YES”

Why don't the peace movement, the environmental movement, and the labour movements get together and create a unified demand to convert the military-industrial complex to peaceful production? It's a win-win for everyone!

We are always saying “NO”. No war for oil. No to Star Wars. Sometimes we have to do so.

But what is our “YES”? Calling for the conversion of the military-industrial complex to peaceful and sustainable production allows us to reach out to a public that fears the loss of good jobs. The time has come for us to share this alternative vision with a public looking for answers to the great problems that exist today.

Topics: Star wars