News Release

Interviews on “Missile Defense”

WILLIAM HARTUNG
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: “In its ongoing effort to ‘triangulate’ by co-opting Republican issues, the Clinton administration has met right-wing missile defense boosters more than half way. Meanwhile, Republicans have stepped up their calls for an elaborate, multi-tiered system akin to Ronald Reagan’s ill-fated Star Wars scheme. The nation’s four major missile contractors — Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and TRW — are looking to missile defense to revive them from mismanagement and technical problems that have slashed their stock prices and reduced their profit margins. They have given $2 million to the 25 hard-core National Missile Defense boosters in the Senate….These companies also spent $34 million on lobbying during 1997-98. In addition, the three largest missile contractors have provided major financial support to Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, which serves as the de facto center for the Star Wars lobby.”
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KARL GROSSMAN
Author of The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet and professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Grossman said today: “Missile defense? In context, what the U.S. military appears to want is in large part not defense but offense. U.S. plans for missile defense should be seen in the overall context of U.S. military plans for space warfare. That is why the Chinese are so much against this program; they fully understand U.S. ambitions to dominate from the ‘high ground.’ National Missile Defense paves the way for space-based weapons. The U.S. Space Command explicitly lays out its plans for the militarization of space, for example in its ‘Vision For 2020’ report. The cover of the report depicts a laser weapon from space zapping a target below and proclaims: ‘U.S. Space Command — dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investment.’ It compares the U.S. effort to control space and the Earth below to how centuries ago ‘nations built navies to protect and enhance their commercial interests’ by ruling the seas.”
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STEPHEN YOUNG
Deputy director of the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers, Young is the principal author of the recent report “Pushing the Limits: The Decision on National Missile Defense.” He said today: “Clinton’s proposal to offer missile defense to ‘civilized’ nations is futile pandering to attempt to gain support of U.S. allies. The Europeans are concerned that if the U.S. pushes ahead on missile defense, then Russia could, for example, increase its reliance on tactical short-range nuclear weapons. The U.S. has already spent $120 billion on theater and national missile defense, without fielding a single effective system. The threat is tremendously overblown; the oft-cited new ‘threat’ is from North Korea, which has frozen its missile test program and is clearly seeking better relations with South Korea and the West.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167