SELLING THE SPACE PRODUCT IN COLORADO
Citizens for Peace In Space and other groups protest the opening banquet of the annual Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs on May 19, 2014.
The protest was to counter the message of the military industrial complex's annual celebration of greed and secrecy and this year highlighted America's favorite weapons system, the killer Drones.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop, General Dynamics and Raytheon lead the way but a host of other smaller companies who feed at the pork barrel banquet were there.
Organizer Bill Sulzman [co-founder of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space] said:
This is the epitome of business as usual. These are the major players who lobby for and then get the lions share of the $800 billion Pentagon annual budget. There will be a lot of civilian space stuff on display also. It's the 'spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down'. In this sense it is a rip off of bona fide space enthusiasts.
This event and others like it set the priorities for our future military policy. This is the continuation of a wrongheaded policy which is sending us off the cliff of overreach.
And all those Pentagon dollars coming our way will not lead to a better tax base for our local and state governments. Tax exemptions for local military bases take a big bite out of public revenue. This includes the thousands of "civilian" personnel who work in tax free government buildings at bases such as Peterson and Schriever in Colorado Springs.
The symposium bills itself as a look into a better future. It's just more of the same.
In 2009 a Brookings Institution study estimated that for every "militant" killed by these unmanned drones, there were 10 civilian casualties. Each of them will have 10 grieving relatives who will become "militants", combatants or enemies.
The New America Foundation estimates between 261 and 305 civilians have been killed in Pakistan.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism says 475 - 891.
Last weekend a NATO air strike killed 20 people in eastern Afghanistan, including at least one woman and 10 children ages 1 to 12. The attacks came at the end of one of the bloodiest weeks of the entire US occupation, which began in 2001.
NATO claims 2 combatants were killed in the strike.