Ten Reasons to Protest Stratcom
16th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest
On 9/11, President George W. Bush was rushed to U.S. Strategic Command’s underground headquarters outside Omaha, Nebraska for safekeeping. From that day forward, the legendary command that for over half a century had maintained America’s nuclear deterrent would never again be the same.
1. Within months of the terrorist attack of 9/11, StratCom began undergoing a drastic makeover at the hands of the Bush/Cheney Administration. From its previously ‘unthinkable’ mission of nuclear holocaust, StratCom was tasked with offensively waging the White House’s “War on Terror”. The command now fields eight missions—nuclear weapons; cyberwarfare; missile defense; global command and control; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR]; global strike; space; and combating weapons of mass destruction.
StratCom Commander Kevin Chilton: “In 2002 this command did not experience a sea-state change but a tsunami of change in the way it was organized and the missions that they were given to perform.” Former StratCom Commander James Cartwright: “When we got to 2002 we brought space. In 2003 we had a fire sale and picked up missile defense, ISR and global strike. In 2005 we picked up combating weapons of mass destruction. I’m hoping in 2008 we’ll get the world hunger piece.” [Laughter]. (www.stratcom.mil)
2. Although Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska remains the command headquarters, StratCom now boasts a network of hundreds of military bases distributed around the globe. The command’s broadened missions in computer warfare, signals intelligence and Homeland Security give it direct authority over the four services—Army , Navy, Marines and Air Force—and indirect authority over multiple agencies like the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA and FBI.
StratCom Commander Chilton: “Here in Omaha we are an operational headquarters working to enable the successful prosecution of our component commanders that are scattered throughout the country. We are called on to be the most, in my view, the most responsive combatant command in the U.S. arsenal.” (www.stratcom.mil) “The FBI and CIA are in our operations center 24/7.” Deputy Commander Jennifer Napper, StratCom’s Global Network Operations. (http://www.alternet.org/audits/67699/)
3. The next war the White House gets us into, be it against a so-called ‘rogue state’ like Iran or geo-political rival like China, will be planned, launched and executed from StratCom—utilizing either conventional or nuclear weapons.
Commander Chilton: “Responsible today for… time-sensitive planning to conduct global strike operations anywhere on the planet, we will remain as ready as ever in our nuclear deterrent role and global strike mission areas.” (www.stratcom.mil). Former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi: “Under instructions from Vice President Cheney’s office, STRATCOM is drawing up a contingency plan [for] a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.” American Conservative, 8/01/05.
4. Under the Doctrine of Preemption and CONPLAN 8022-02 (Contingency Plan), StratCom is now authorized to attack anywhere on the face of the earth within one hour on the mere perception of a threat to America’s national security—without first seeking congressional approval as required by the U.S. Constitution and the “War Powers Resolution.”
“StratCom established an interim global strike division to turn the new preemption policy into an operational reality. In December 2002, Adm. James O. Ellis Jr., then StratCom's head, told an Omaha business group that his command had been charged with developing the capability to strike anywhere in the world within minutes of detecting a target.” William Arkin, Washington Post, (5/14/05) (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/14/AR2005051400071.html)
5. StratCom, as an extension of the executive branch, has become an accessory in flouting both national and international law. It’s usurping Congress’s authority to declare war, conducting constitutionally suspect “warrantless wiretaps” on our citizens, developing new generations of
nuclear weapons, pursuing ‘first-strike’ Star Wars missile defense systems and launching ‘vigilante-style’ preemptive attacks—like the one on Iraq.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan: “I hope we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time—without U.N. approval. ...I have indicated it was not in conformity with the U.N. charter from our point of view—from the charter point of view, it was illegal.” (9/15/04). Seventy percent of the weapons targeted on Iraq during the preemptive “Shock and Awe” air assault were precision-guided from space by StratCom assets. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/24/eveningnews/main537928.shtml
6. StratCom’s fingerprints are everywhere nowadays, and we don’t even realize it… The threatened attack on Iran—that’s StratCom’s global strike... The proposed ‘Star Wars’ bases in Poland and the Czech Republic—that’s StratCom’s integrated missile defense… The NSA’s “warrantless wiretaps” on American citizens—that’s StratCom’s ISR mission… The current showdown with China over its space program—that’s StratCom’s space command… Developing new generations of nuclear weapons like the bunker buster ‘mini-nuke’ and Reliable Replacement Warhead—that’s StratCom’s strategic deterrence.
“In December 2001, the administration issued a provocative Nuclear Posture Review calling for the development of new, more usable nuclear weapons [which runs] completely counter to U.S. obligations under the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.” Union of Concerned Scientists, “Global Security.”
U.N. World Court: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotia-tions leading to nuclear disarmament in all aspects under strict and effective international control.” (7/8/96)
7. Under the goals outlined in the Bush/Cheney Administration’s
revised “National Space Policy,” StratCom is actively seeking the total domination of space for the U.S. and a few approved allies… because whoever controls space controls the Earth.
“President Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone ‘hostile to U.S. interests,’” Washington Post (10/17/06). “The United States was alone in voting against the [United Nations] resolution on prevention of an arms race in outer space… The PAROS resolution was adopted by a vote of 166 in favor, one against.” Nuclear Threat Initiative, March 2007 (www.nti.org)
8. StratCom is fast becoming the “Big Brother” that George Orwell warned
of in his novel 1984. It’s spying on our citizens and infringing on our civil liberties. It’s generating round-the-clock spin about threats to our national security and the need for increased military strength. And it’s consuming an ever-greater share of the budget for national defense as it pursues a strategy of permanent war. For the 21st Century, it’s like Darth Vader in the service of the Empire.
“StratCom is a laboratory for the future of warfare.” Space Foundation President Robert Walker in his opening remarks at the “Strategic Space and Defense” conference in Omaha, Nebraska (10/11/06). Billed as “the definitive global security conference, where the senior leadership of U.S. Strategic Command, component and supported commands, and the executive leadership of the national security industrial base gather,” the event is annually co-sponsored by Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.
9. The key elements of StratCom’s mission—such as global missile
defense—will greatly exceed, in size and cost, many of the major military-industrial projects of the past. With the current Pentagon budget already totaling well over a half-trillion dollars annually, paying for the cost of such StratCom projects will necessarily translate into cuts in social spending and entitlements programs, like Medicare and Social Security.
“If the majority of top policymakers have longstanding ties to the companies that will benefit from the Bush Administration’s ‘war without end’ approach to foreign policy, the development of a missile defense ‘shield’ and a new generation of nuclear weapons, who will represent the public interest?” William Hartung, World Policy Institute. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” Dwight Eisenhower (1961).
10. In the wake of 9/11, StratCom has become the most dangerous place
on the face of the Earth. But this transformation has happened so fast,
hardly anybody knows it, and nobody’s talking about it. And it’s high time
“Nebraskans for Peace StratCom Watch Committee” (www.nebraskansforpeace.org)