Star Wars

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Star Wars is the popular name used to designate the collection of anti-ballistic missile (ABM) weapons systems programs begun during the Reagan administration. That reagain White House and Pentagon fought a losing public relations battel with the American people to have the collection of programs called the Strategic Defense Initiative or (SDI). Although elite and mass opposition to the defense pork barrel programs was strong, the Reagan administration and major aerospace defense contractors kept them alive by buying support from major universities with research contracts. In the end, decades of research and development at the cost of billions of dollars has not yielded a workable anti-ballistic missile weapons system. Indeed, whistle-blowers have revealed that the Pentagon effectively rigged tests of at least one weapons system.

Entertainment Induced Irrationality

George Lucas created the incredibly successful "Star Wars" movies (the 6th one, called paradoxically, Episode III is coming out in 2005). The first came out in the late 1970s. This involved a battle between good guy rebels, and an evil empire, which borrowed from Nazi Germany in its terminology and character (e.g. its soldiers were called "Storm Troopers", a reference to the Nazi German military, and its soldiers wore the brown uniforms of the Nazi military regime). It was noted for the high technology world that came to life in the movies which were some of the first to fully use modern special effects.

When Ronald Reagan proposed an anti-ballistic missile defense system for the United States using lasers and other high technology weapons, some of which operated from space, the program was dubbed "Star Wars" by some commentators and the name has stuck. Ronald Reagan largely embraced this terminology, continuing the metaphor by calling the Soviet Union and its subject states in the Warsaw Pact, the Evil empire, a reference to the Empire that the rebels opposed in the Star Wars movies. (Not coincidentally, Ronald Reagan himself had a background in Hollywood movies).

References

  • Frances Fitzgerald. 2000. Way Out There In The Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War. Touchstone. ISBN 0743200233.

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