News Release

Rumsfeld: Star Wars Booster

Senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute and co-author of the recent report “Tangled Web: The Marketing of Missile Defense, 1994-2000,” Hartung said today: “Donald Rumsfeld has a reputation as a moderate, dating back to his days as secretary of defense in the Ford administration in the mid-1970s, but during the 1990s he has become a darling of right-wing Republicans and a member in good standing of the Star Wars lobby. As Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott’s handpicked chairman of a congressionally-mandated commission on Third World ballistic missiles that bore his name, Rumsfeld grossly exaggerated the ballistic missile threat to the United States posed by so-called rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. At the same time that he was providing this allegedly objective assessment of missile threats, Rumsfeld was a close associate of Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, a corporate-financed, ideologically driven think tank that serves as the nerve center of the missile defense lobby. He also served on the board of Empower America, which ran misleading, pro-Star Wars ads against Democratic senators who opposed the plan during the 1998 mid-term elections. Before Rumsfeld is confirmed as secretary of defense, he needs to answer some tough questions about whether he has the temperament and the objectivity to be entrusted with decisions about a National Missile Defense system that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars and spark a new nuclear arms race in the bargain.”
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Author of the forthcoming Weapons In Space and professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Grossman said today: “Star Wars has received a huge push with the assumption of power by the Bush-Cheney administration, intimately linked to corporate interests committed to expanding space military activities. The goal, as U.S. military documents state, is to have the U.S. ‘control space’ and from space ‘dominate’ the Earth below. That’s why, in November 2000, some 160 nations voted in the United Nations — the U.S. abstained — to reaffirm the Outer Space Treaty, the basic international law on space, enacted in 1967 to keep war out of space. Now the U.S. would push full-speed-ahead to make space a new arena of war. Spearheading the drive will be Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney, a former member of the TRW board. His wife, Lynne Cheney, remains on the Lockheed Martin board but is on a ‘leave of absence.’ (Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest weapons manufacturer, and TRW are major Star Wars contractors — and have spent many millions of dollars lobbying for the program.) A main player, too, will be National Security Council deputy director-designee Stephen J. Hadley, a Star Wars advocate whose Washington law firm represents Lockheed Martin. And they will be working from a foreign policy platform put together at the Republican National Convention by a committee chaired by Bruce Jackson, vice president for corporate strategy and development at Lockheed Martin.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020