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Next Major War in Space? 805

An anonymous reader writes "A US Northern Command general thinks that with US and international military dependence on space assets (such as GPS, eyes in the sky, communications), the next major conflict will occur in the heavens. He acknowledged that the US wants to keep space peaceful, but that can't last forever, and potential threats might not care, anyway. Yes, China's recent success (or what we heard from the military secrecy) relates to this, but he also said he's not implying China is a threat, or will be."
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Next Major War in Space?

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  • Paranoia (Score:1, Insightful)

    by 3th3rn3t ( 245106 ) <ethernet AT epimp DOT com> on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:00AM (#7238620) Homepage
    imo this is only feeding the existing paranoia 'everybody is after us' that the people in the united states have been brainwasged with since 911. yes, sure, there are people that are after you but that does not mean a complete breakdown of civil rights like it is happening now.
    Maybe its just another statement to get more money as a 'space defence' project...
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:01AM (#7238636)
    A US Northern Command general thinks that with US and international military dependence on space assets (such as GPS, eyes in the sky, communications), the next major conflict will occur in the heavens. He acknowledged that the US wants to keep space peaceful, but that can't last forever, and potential threats might not care, anyway.

    Sounds like someone(possibly the one person who watched Moonraker) just trying to find new ways to justify their existence and even greater military spending.

  • American fanatics (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:02AM (#7238641)
    God put Bush in charge, says the general hunting bin Laden
    By David Rennie

    The general leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein has publicly declared that the Christian God is "bigger" than Allah, who is a false "idol", and believes the war on terrorism is a fight with Satan, it emerged yesterday.

    Investigative reporters from the Los Angeles Times and NBC television have dug up two years' worth of seemingly incendiary comments from Lt Gen William "Jerry" Boykin, the newly promoted deputy undersecretary of state of defence for intelligence.

    Gen Boykin has repeatedly told Christian groups and prayer meetings that President George W Bush was chosen by God to lead the global fight against Satan.

    He told one gathering: "Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."

    In January, he told Baptists in Florida about a victory over a Muslim warlord in Somalia, who had boasted that Allah would protect him from American capture. "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real god and his was an idol," Gen Boykin said.

    He also emerged from the conflict with a photograph of the Somalian capital Mogadishu bearing a strange dark mark. He has said this showed "the principalities of darkness. . . a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy".

    On the Middle East, Gen Boykin told an Oregon church in June that America could not ignore its Judaeo-Christian roots. "Our religion came from Judaism and therefore [Islamic] radicals will hate us forever."

    In the same month, Gen Boykin told an Oklahoma congregation that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were not the enemy.

    "Our enemy is a spiritual enemy because we are a nation of believers. . . His name is Satan."

    The disclosures will doubtless be seized on by Muslim critics as proof that the US-led war on terrorism is a crusade against Islam. It is a charge that Mr Bush has worked hard to refute.

    Though careful to respect minority religions within its ranks, the US military is strikingly devout from top to bottom. Mr Bush and several key figures in his administration are staunch Christian conservatives.

    Few outside the Pentagon noticed when Gen Boykin, a 13-year member of Delta Force, the top-secret commando unit modelled on the SAS, was promoted this summer, with responsibility for speeding the flow of top-secret intelligence to commandos hunting bin Laden and other high-value targets.

    At a routine press conference yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld, the normally confident defence secretary, appeared wrong-footed by the controversy. He hailed the general's "outstanding record" and said his comments were made "in his private capacity".

    However, Mr Rumsfeld was careful to cite Mr Bush's injunctions against viewing Islam as the enemy.

    Gen Boykin told NBC that he would be curtailing his speeches to religious groups. "I don't want to come across as a Right-wing radical," he said.
  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:05AM (#7238662) Homepage
    We would literally become prisoners on our own planet with tons of debris flying everywhere from destroyed satellites...

    Of course we as people have the ability to think and make rational choices... let's hope this holds true.
  • by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:05AM (#7238669)
    Perhaps instead of finding ways to fight wars in space, they should spend more time trying to find ways to ensure peace down here. Yeah, I know, idealistic crap. Still, it does scare me how little regard some people have for their fellow humans.
  • Schizophrenia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:10AM (#7238718)
    That guy sounds like he suffers from Schizophrenia:

    There's going to be a big war in space soon! Huge!

    Not that the USA is going to start the war, on no. We're peaceful people.

    But of course, that can't last forever! We might not be able to prevent ourselves starting a war soon.

    But we're not war-like here in the USA, not at all.

    But those damn Chinese getting into space, that might start a war, oh yes! We'll be ready for them!

    I'm not implying that the Chinese are a threat or anything, oh no!

    But they might be in the future...

    No they won't! I'm not implying that!

  • Re:Asteroids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:13AM (#7238750)
    Two things:

    a) the closest recorded asteriod fly-by occurred recently, and we only knew about it *after* it had passed us

    b) deflecting the path of an asteriod on a collision course would be a hell of a lot more difficult than you seem to think. I've not done the maths, but I'm not entirely sure that we're even up to the challenge just yet
  • the art of war (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cethiesus ( 164785 ) <> on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:14AM (#7238758) Homepage Journal
    the US wants to keep space peaceful, but that can't last forever

    Once you prepare for war, you've already started the war.
  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:19AM (#7238809)
    ...what military threat does China possess? They're a major economic ally now, and they only seem to wave their swords when Hong Kong or Taiwan threatens independence or something.

    There was a greater threat of space combat with the Soviets when the Cold War was on, and that obviously never materialized. I'm sure this is just another obvious tactic to get more military funding from an already-overstretched federal government.
  • Re:Paranoia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KMAPSRULE ( 639889 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:24AM (#7238849)
    imo this is only feeding the existing paranoia 'everybody is after us' that the people in the united states have been brainwasged with since 911

    No I dont think thats the case here, I think he's saying that space is one of the greater military advantages that Countries like the US enjoys. And that in the Future the fight is going to be to control that advantage or to knock out your enemy's space assets, or even just use your enemy's space assets against them. I think the other concern is that since China is probably not going to work together with us on the space thing(their space program is run by their military) they may be concerned with China and other space newcomers finding out exactly what we have up there watching them and/or them stealing our technology!
  • by Bendebecker ( 633126 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:26AM (#7238873) Journal
    And why can't america be selfish? The rest of the world definitely is. Every country on earth is selfish and only looking out for its own good, why can't we? Screw international relations; I elect my leaders so that they will make MY life better, I didn't elect them so that Israel and Palestine would have someone to bitch at and blame when they can't solve their own fucking problems. The goal of the government is only world peace if world peace is good for us. If we could make the world a peaceful place by destorying ourselves, would we? No. Simply put, all countries are out for their own good and if you don't like it, tough.
  • by mattbot 5000 ( 645961 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:34AM (#7238963) Homepage

    So a US General, whose livelihood depends on the prospect or actuality of war, thinks that space will be a battleground at some point "in the next 20 years." OMG! It's so hard to believe he said that.

    I bet if you asked, you could find a prominent US businessman who thinks space will become the next great financial frontier at some unspecified point "in the next 20 years," too.

    And I would even go so far as to say a scientist thinks outer space will become the next focus of scientific inquiry "in the next 20 years!"

    This article is nothing but idle speculation from a man who likely has no more ability to foresee a war in space than you or I.

  • by CableMAN123 ( 716885 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:39AM (#7239004)
    The Star Wars program is no joke.... The Pentagon is so sure that whomever controls space will control the Earth and beyond that they are feverishly working to deploy anti-satellite weapons (ASAT's) that will enable the U.S. to knock out competitors "eyes in the sky" during times of hostilities. As the Space Command says in their slick brochure Vision for 2020, "Control of space is the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space if required." - A quote from this article, very interesting. ination.htm By Bruce K. Gagnon More links on other military space topics:
  • by tigersha ( 151319 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @09:50AM (#7239157) Homepage
    Get real. If they can put a capsule into space that can circle the bloody planet 14 times they can also land that capsule filled with a nuclearbombnaut instead of a taikonaut anywhere, including the East Coast.

  • by Doomdark ( 136619 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @10:19AM (#7239426) Homepage Journal
    Why does Slashdot have to be part of fear-peddling media? Of course military is always coming up with new hypothetical threats, just as police does. It's their job to be wary of things, to serve and protect. But it'd be good for others to have perspective on what exactly they are talking about. Their opinions, fears, possibilities. Not certanties or even significant probabilities. And as to space wars, the ideas have been in sci-fi for decades.

    I'd strongly suggest people watch "Bowling for Columbine", for one point-of-view on fear mongering as part of the problem, reason, not just consequence.

    I remember pointing out (right after 9/11) how silly most fears regarding terrorists using atomic (and to a degree, biological and even chemical weapons is) are, and was told by n+1 people how wrong I was ("nobody thought an airplane would be used as..."). I've yet to see any credible threat from that direction, and hopefully won't see during my lifetime. I don't think that's a coincident, or just act of efficient prevention. Yet many readers here thought it'd be inevitable, would happen right away. Just like attack of killer bees, Y2K causing armageddon, red threat leading to slavery of human kind, and dozens of other low probability threat people just bought without thinking for themselves. And of course nowadays in USA, the all-encompassing replacement for red threat, the almighty terrorism.

    American journalists could do well to investigate terrorism in Europe (IRA, ETA, leftist terrorist groups in italy and germany, algerian and corsican-tied ones in french), to see how most of those terrorism waves come and go; how something awful that seems to be part of life may come to a complete halt (germany, late-70s, bader-mainhof); and finally how to, in the end of the day, get on with life. Not disregard dangers, but live with them, while working to get rid of them, if possible.

    Sometimes it's just feels that before USA has seen some phenomenon, it's like it never existed. "World has changed forever, nothing will ever be the same". I know it's just part of american cultrue; big words, lots of pompous declarations, hot air; quotes from movies trying act heroic... and still it bothers me; compared to dignified but low-key responses more common in other places, when faced with horrible things.
    That's why it'd be great to have better news services; without them, this introvertism regading other countries (while being very social, well mannered and likable within country) will continue to make USA xenophobic (as in fearing and distrusting other countries, and people living there; not as in racism towards different coloured americans).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2003 @10:21AM (#7239447)
    Distinguishing nations from people like that is a nonsense.

    Nations are composed of people. When nations go to war, people go to war. And when that happens, there is a whole load of negative interpersonal relations going on between people belonging to different nations.

    To claim that declaring war against other nations does not defy the morals taught in the New Testament is ridiculous.
  • by hamburger lady ( 218108 ) on Friday October 17, 2003 @12:49PM (#7240907)
    The super gun was developed originally to take out satellite systems.

    depends on which direction it was pointed. if the gun was pointed in the direction of Israel (west-ish), it would do no good as a means for getting something into orbit, as you'd be firing against the rotation of the earth. that's why rockets etc are always launched to go with the rotation, as it makes it *way* easier to get it up. i can't imagine what engineer would come up with that as a means to get anything close to orbit.

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