Cold War Déjà-Vu

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CommonDreams.org

Cold War Déjà-Vu

by
Mike Gravel

In his speech in Prague, President Obama's rhetoric was essentially no different than that of George Bush. He promised, because of our "moral responsibility," to rid the world of nuclear weapons. He then averred that the US would not lower its defenses while others are pursuing a nuclear threat.

He's right about his last promise. Under his budget the US will continue to spend on defense (and a nuclear capability) more than all the rest of the world put together, "While others are pursuing a nuclear threat" an obvious reference to Iran, which our intelligence community reports is not pursuing a nuclear weapon. Obama who knows this intelligence information said to a cheering crowd: "As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven." So much for his recent peaceful overtures to the people of Iran whose defense budget is less than 1% of ours.

"Cost-effective!!!" The missile shield is the biggest boondoggle in military history with constant cost overruns. "Proven!!!" All tests have failed save one where the target's location was programmed into the interceptor guidance system. The President's false exaggerations are statements right out of a lobbyist's briefing paper. The missile shield in Alaska was deployed before the system was ever proven to work at a cost of $100 billion. The shield for Poland and Czech will cost more than $100 billion. The great majority of knowledgeable scientists, not on the payroll of the benefiting defense contractors, state that the system will not work and that a threat does not exist.

When we are hemorrhaging debt at home in the current economic meltdown and tanking unemployment does this expenditure abroad make sense?  Barack sings a different tune when he's abroad. His hawkish statements in Prague are as inaccurate as Bush's were prior to the invasion of Iraq. Progressives are in for a lot more surprises to come.

The missile shield system has little to do with the phony nuclear threat from Iran or for that matter North Korea. It is the continuation of the arms race in space that started under the Clinton Administration. The missiles of the shield are really designed to shoot down orbiting communication satellites, thereby blinding and economically crippling a 21st Century enemy. But this can be done by any country that can launch a satellites. That's why Western Analysts are so concerned with the ICBM rocket capability of Iran and North Korea. For them this capability is vital for their defense by raising the threshold costs of superpower intimidation. They well know that their rockets are not a system to attack the US superpower, Europe, South Korea or Japan, where at best they can only inflict recoverable damages. Any sane leader knows that such an attack would bring about a national suicide, easily inflicted by any one of the 19 plus US and NATO Trident submarines.

The arms race in space is now evolving into the Cold War posture of MAD (mutual assured destruction), the only beneficiaries of which are the arms contractors around the world. President Obama's statements in Prague are Cold War, signaling that the military industrial complex (mic) investment in the political campaigns of the 2008 election will not only reap handsome rewards but will also insulate them from the pain of the present economic meltdown.

Mike Gravel is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981.

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