HIGHTOWER: The Money Push for Star Wars

It's said that if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. But if you're a military contractor and you build a lousy mousetrap that doesn't even work, don't worry, the Pentagon will beat a path to your door and dump billions on you.

This is the happy situation for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, TRW and other military contractors involved in the supercalifragelisticexpialidocious anti-missile defense system known as Star Wars. It's a mousetrap in the sky, supposedly able to shoot down incoming long-range missiles hurled at us by some enemy. But the problem is, we don't seem to have any real enemies capable of hurling such missiles at us. And if they did, the problem is that despite already spending $50 billion, the Star Wars system simply doesn't work. For one thing, the system can't detect a real missile from a decoy -- a small detail that the Pentagon and its contractors apparently have been lying about to Congress and the public.

Yet, the New York Times reports that the Clinton White House, the Republican Congress, and the Pentagon are rushing to dump another $60 billion of our money into this black hole. To grease the skids, the corporate contractors for Star Wars have given tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions to both Republicans and Democrats, and they've also funded PR front groups to promote this boondoggle. The Center for Security Policy, for example, gets a third of its budget from these Pentagon profiteers and issues such biased reports as "Missile Defense: Cheap at Twice the Price." Also, look for the TV ads of the Coalition to Protect Americans Now, which show babies in cribs interspersed with missiles raining down on the US, while the announcer intones: "Were will you be when the missiles are launched?"

This is Jim Hightower saying ... To counter Star Wars stupidity, contact the Center for Defense Information: 202-332-0600.

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