These are the words that greet visitors to the Space Museum in Huntsville, Alabama. It is telling us that "mingling ethnic groups" and cultures other than our own are a threat to United States citizens and that trusting our care to the Pentagon is our only option for survival in this brutal world.
Grim and creepy, huh? And racist too. I wish I were joking. Space campers and tourists investigate the wonders of our destructive science in this dark Disneyland, zapping aliens in videogames and paying reverent homage to Werner van Braun, founder of our space program and one of the "good Nazis" we brought back from Germany after World War II. It is perhaps no coincidence then that the patch sewn onto the uniform of those who serve in the United States Space Command proudly declares "Masters of Space."
In March of last year, I spent a weekend in Huntsville with Bruce Gagnon and the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (firstname.lastname@example.org www.space4peace.org), where we held vigils and had a conference in the "Rocket City." I wrote a song that we all sang together outside the Redstone Arsenal, a base involved with generating Star Wars technology. ["song: Yonder Star Wars!" Huntsville photo gallery]
We all made the local papers and the evening news, but our work is just beginning. The town's economy grew up around the war business. We can't just go to a town and tell them their lives are wrong. That's not what we did. We came in peace and became humans with human faces to people who perhaps believed something else about us before we arrived. That's how the process must start. I was heartened by a story told by one of the conference attendees. She had worked at one of the local military science production plants. One day she wanted to explain to her child what she did at work. When she told her child, the young one asked if she made things that killed people. She couldn't work at that job anymore after that. This is the effect we want to have in Huntsville, for as that town goes so do we all.
People talk about Star Wars Two. Star Wars One never really went away and now it is back, a raging ghost of global destruction, economic disaster and financial ruin, where the US Space Command becomes the police arm of multi-national corporations, the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.
We are, as Phil Ochs said, the "Cops of the World." [go home go to today go to top of the page]