Front Page
Global Links
Partner Sites
Press Room
Contact Us
NewsInsider - Main Graphic  


Wounding National Security

Star Wars II Endangers the American People

By Dr. Robert M. Bowman
Former director of "Star Wars" programs
29 May 2001

George W. Bush's new "Star Wars II" would seriously harm U.S. national security. Bush's plan abandons Clinton's failed attempt at a treaty-compliant National Missile Defense (NMD) and seeks a Reaganesque multilayer array of weapons aimed at intercepting Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in their boost phase (shortly after launch). The Bush administration is already funding laser weapons in modified 747s, missile interceptors on Aegis cruisers, and laser battle stations in space (the heart of the "Star Wars" programs I directed under Presidents Ford and Carter).

One common characteristic of all these boost-phase weapons is that they must get within about 300 miles of the ICBM launch point to do their job. If North Korea, Iraq, or Iran ever acquire the exotic technology required to build an ICBM, then they will certainly be able to shoot down a 747 orbiting over their territory, or sink a cruiser just off their coast, or destroy a laser satellite passing over their territory just 300 miles up. The technology for these tasks is trivial compared to that needed for a successful ICBM. Bush's proposed "Star Wars II" will thus be extremely vulnerable and would be destroyed by any attacker before he launches his missiles. "Star Wars" weapons will therefore be of no possible use to an innocent party sitting back waiting to be attacked. They are only of possible use to an aggressor with the element of surprise on his side. This is why such weapons were specifically outlawed by the ABM Treaty, a treaty which all the generals and admirals on my advisory board believe is still essential to our security, and one which "Star Wars II" will violate massively. Since it is still our policy (I hope) not to be the aggressor, "Star Wars II" would be useless against the non-existent ICBMs of the "states of concern."

These weapons will also be useless against the far more real threat of nuclear terrorism. If a terrorist gets his hands on a nuclear bomb, he is not going to start a 20-year development program to build an ICBM. To use such a high-tech, costly, complex, visible, traceable means of delivery would be the height of stupidity. Instead, he would just float his nuke up the Potomac in a barge, fly it into Miami in a Cessna, smuggle it into San Francisco wrapped in a bale of marijuana, or deliver it to Oklahoma City in a Ryder rental truck. No "Star Wars II" weapon will do any good against a terrorist with a rental truck. But by increasing the apparent U.S. military superiority, these weapons will increase the fear and hatred of people in the developing nations toward our government and therefore increase the terrorist threat.

" Star Wars II" will give the hawks in the Pentagon the offensive weapons they covet for "mastery of space" and for bombing earth from space. It will give the multinational corporations and banks absolute military superiority to back up their "gunboat diplomacy" around the world. It will line the pockets of weapons manufacturers for decades to come (at the expense of "optional" programs like health, education, social security, the environment, and our infrastructure). It will starve the defense budget of funds needed for getting soldiers off food stamps, supplying our peacekeepers in the field, and replacing worn-out systems that are actually useful to our national security. It will undo decades of progress on arms control with Russia. It will cause the Chinese to vastly increase the 20 nuclear weapons they now point at the United States. It will drive a wedge between us and many of our allies. It will enormously increase the chances that terrorists will use weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, or biological) against our people. Yet it will not do a single thing to protect us from these real non-missile threats.

The American people have a right to be confused about this so-called "defense." They have been subjected to propaganda, distortions, and outright fraud. But here's the straight truth. Bush's new version of "Star Wars" -even if it works- will destroy our national security and endanger our people. Its proponents in government have been told this by the CIA, by the Pentagon, and by me. If they do not understand it by now, they are idiots. If they do, they are traitors.

This is not a partisan issue. In 1984, members of Reagan's own Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) asked me to warn the Congress and the American people of this "military lunacy." I did. Republicans like Mark Hatfield and Jim Leach and Democrats like Sam Nunn and George Brown were instrumental in restoring sanity. In 2001, the lunacy has been resurrected and is surprisingly bipartisan. Some in both parties seem ready to sell out the ABM treaty and with it the American people. The patriots are those (in either party) with the courage to speak up and say, "George II has no clothes!"© The News Insider 2001Dr. Robert M. Bowman directed all the "Star Wars" programs under Presidents Ford and Carter, when their existence was secret. He is now President of the Institute for Space and Security Studies (ISSS) in Melbourne Beach, Florida. He flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. His Ph.D. is in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech. Dr. Bowman can be contacted at 5115 S. A1A Hwy, Melbourne Beach, FL 32951, tel. (321) 952-0601, email

Copyright notice

The use of the editorials published on this site is free, as long as News Insider is notified and referred to as the source of the information cited. We believe in the free sharing of information, but we do not encourage plagiarism. If our editorials are of use to you, please contact us to let us know. Thank you for your cooperation.

© The News Insider