Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Yesterday the Lewiston (Maine) Sun Journal newspaper ran a front page story about the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) public hearings in Rangeley.  I was quoted but there were two important mistakes in the article that also quoted my organizing companion Jason Rawn.  So this morning I sent this response to the paper and will hope it gets printed.

Lewiston Sun Journal

Dear Editor,

I read with great interest your article “Mixed emotions over interceptor base in Franklin County” (8-14-14).  This issue about Maine possibly hosting a “missile defense” (MD) interceptor base should be given serious public attention as it would create many environmental, economic and political consequences.

I was mis-identified in the article as a Vietnam vet.  While I was indeed in the Air Force during the Vietnam War I told your reporter that I was a Vietnam-era vet. 

Secondly a couple of my key words were mischaracterized and should be corrected.  I was quoted accurately about the fact that Iran has no nuclear weapons and no missiles capable of reaching the continental US.  North Korea does have a few nukes but no missiles able to reach our shores.  Neither are the threat.  It is Russia and China these systems are really aimed at.

In the article the reporter says that I believe the US will attack Russia and China in a first-strike.  I didn’t say that.  What I actually said was that there are several versions of “missile defense” which the Pentagon is currently testing and deploying (at considerable tax payer expense).  These MD systems are creating the capability that “would allow” the US to launch such a first-strike attack against Russia or China. 

In fact the aerospace industry magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology has reported several times about the annual US Space Command computer war game where they practice such a first-strike attack against Russia and China.  MD is the shield that is used to pick-off any retaliatory strikes after an initial US attack.  They are misnamed as missile defense, they should be called “missile offense”.  The name is really all about public relations.

Instead of just putting “missile defense” interceptor bases here inside the US, the military is now surrounding Russia and China with ground-based and sea-based interceptors.  That means US MD systems are currently going into Poland, Romania, Turkey, Black Sea, Japan, South Korea, Guam, Okinawa, Taiwan and more.  Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and that Russia or China were establishing MD bases in Mexico and Canada and putting interceptors on ships just off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts.  We’d go ballistic.  When we do it to others it is ignored, excused, and anyone who speaks up is taken as a suspect.

The corporate profits building the new arms race into space are enormous.  In fact the Pentagon has long maintained that space warfare technology (Star Wars) will be the largest industrial project in the history of Earth.  And where will those funds come from?  Some years ago the industry publication called Space News ran an editorial calling for the defunding of the “entitlement programs” in order to move those funds over into the space technology budget.  The entitlement programs officially are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what is left of the welfare program.

Remember what former President Eisenhower told the nation on his last day in office, “Beware of the power of the military industrial complex.”  They lied us into Vietnam, Iraq and are now trying to scare us with “Iran and North Korea” are coming.  Proceed with caution.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space 
Also a member of Maine Veterans for Peace


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