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Weapons in Space (Open Media Series) Paperback – June 5, 2001
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About the Author
KARL GROSSMAN has specialized in investigative reporting for more than 35 years. Honors he has received include the George Polk, the James Aronson, and the John Peter Zenger Awards. His reporting on the use of nuclear power and plans to deploy weapons in space has been cited six times by Project Censored. Grossman is the author of many books, including The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet and Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power.
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Top Customer Reviews
The next problem I encountered was the author's ignorance concerning current military based technology. At one point the author provides an image from the US Space Command's vision for the future. The author points to the picture which, the author claims, shows a satellite firing a laser from space to destroy a missile... however, those who understand what they are seeing will shake their heads. The picture portrays a DSP satellite (an early warning missile defense satellite, which has no weapon system), it's field of view (which the author wrongly assumes is a laser), and a missile in flight (again, the author wrongly assumes that the missile is being blasted out of the air by the satellite). From a 'science' perspective a laser fired from space into our atmosphere would experience so much scattering/reflection/refraction that it would be worthless for anything other than communication.
The book is good providing insight from those who wish to avoid a military arms race in space... however, don't expect much 'science' or expertise concerning space and/or technology.
While there is all sort of fulminations about "missle defense" from think tank pundits, talk radio hosts and other such fools about defending ourselves from ballistic missles from North Korea, Iraq and the other favorite hobgobolins, few people actually knowledgeable about such issues talk about such quite bogus threats. Professor Grossman in this book digs very deep into easily availabe U.S. space command literature and other easily available documents to get at the reality.
And the reality behind the U.S. plans to militarise space is simply stated by the U.S. military: achieving hegemony in space will have a similar, though probably much greater effect, as the achievment of hegemony of the seas achieved by England and the other European imperialists centuries ago. And of course those powers always justified their aggressions as "defense."
Perhaps the most interesting quote in the book comes from the Space command's "Long Range Plan" produced during the Clinton years. It explains that as the so-called globalization economy expands throughout the world "the gap between 'have' and 'have-not' nations will widen--creating regional unrest." This is, of course, contrary to the propaganda that as time goes on globalization will create a literal utopia throughout the world.
The document goes on to say that "The United States will remain the only nation able to project power globally...One of the long acknowledged and commonly understood advantages of space-based plaforms is no restriction or country clearances to overfly a nation from space. We expect this advantage to endure...Achieving space superiority during conflicts will be critical to U.S. success on the battlefields."
Another interesting document quoted in the books is the report commissioned and endorsed by the democratic controlled congress in 1987 which describes how the U.S. might be able to hijack the deposits of minerals on the Moon collected by other nations. Like the hegemonic powers of the past, the U.S. will engage in piracy when it is able to.
Now the "missle defense" is one component of a vast array of offensive weaponery, in large part nuclear powered, that is planned to be placed in space. Of course, missle defense itself, adopting the dubious assumption that it works, would theoritically protect the U.S. from any retaliatory strike andywhere in the world, allowing the U.S. to engage in military operations probably completely unimpeded which is why other nations are and will be building up anti-sattelite weapons and space-based and conventional weaponery and capablities. In other words the U.S. is starting an extremely dangerous arms race.
Grossman goes into other some interesting stuff. Such as about the Challenger space shuttle which exploded in January 1986 was scheduled in May 1986 the Ullyses plutonium fueled space probe with 24.2 pounds of plutonium on board; thus it would have been really horrific if it would have exploded then. And he compares the Cassini space probe flight about 700 miles above the earth's atmosphere so it could get enought gravity to push to go on to Saturn to the Mars climate orbiter which was navigated too close to the Martian atmosphere and crashed into the planet because the geniuses at Nasa and Lockeed Martin working on the project had failed to convert English units of measurement to metric ones. He wonders what would happen had they made the same mistake with the Cassini, fueled by 72.3 pounds of plutonium. Well, he says, in 1964 a U.S. navigation sattelite fueled with plutoniun failed to get into space and disintegrated into the earth's atmosphere dispersing 2.1 pounds of plutonium all over the earth, perhaps causing the global increase in lung cancer since then according to a Mannahaten project scientist.
Well, anyways, the point is stressed that our great leaders don't really carry about "defense" in the honest sense of the word but want to enrich the military manufacturers which subsidise them and the military buereaucrats. They will continue to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets executives of Boeing, Raytheon, Lockeed Martin and continue to spread suffering and terror around the world. The public is currently being roused to jingoism and fear so that the Bush administration has the support to do virtually anything under the guise of "fighting terrorism." and they already have done a terrible amount. It's important that the work of the group Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear, disussed extensively in the last half of the book, is supported.