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USAF seeks space weapon mandate

Star Wars II?

By Lester Haines, 18 May 2005

The New York Times revealed yesterday that the US Air Force is lobbying president Bush to approve a national security directive which "could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons".

According to the paper, a senior administration official confirmed that the USAF is looking for a new directive to replace 1996 Bill Clinton legislation which put the emphasis on a "less aggressive" policy of deploying spy satellites - rather than pursuing Ronald Reagan's ultimately ill-fated "Star Wars" programme.

Indeed, the NYT says that the Pentagon has already ploughed billions into developing space weapons and plans to get them into orbit - with little public debate - and that the details of the new directive are still under review and tight wraps.

However, Air Force spokeswoman Major Karen Finn claimed: "The focus of the process is not putting weapons in space. The focus is having free access in space." Nicely put. We look forward to the USAF using its new-found freedom to get on with what has always actually topped its agenda: building orbiting low-cost public housing, hospitals and orphanages without a ICBM-busting satellite-mounted laser weapon in sight.

An final announcement on the presidential directive is expected in the next few weeks. ®

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