The New York Times reported this week that the Air Force is planning to ask the Bush administration for a directive to put weapons in space.
Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, the truth is not always a pleasant thing, but it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless, distinguishable post-war environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.
You're talking about mass murder, General, not war.
Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say... no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh... depending on the breaks.
I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolph Hitler!
Perhaps it might be better, Mr. President, if you were more concerned with the American people, than with your image in the history books.
--Continuity transcript Dr. Strangelove: or, how I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
The story alone has raised international ire, especially among the Russians during a time when relations between Bush and Putin are not as cozy as it looked with them tooling around together in a 1950’s era automobile. From the Financial Times:
The proposed change would be a substantial shift in American policy. It would almost certainly be opposed by many American allies and potential enemies, who have said it may create an arms race in space.
A senior administration official said that a new presidential directive would replace a 1996 Clinton administration policy that emphasized a more pacific use of space, including spy satellites' support for military operations, arms control and nonproliferation pacts.
Any deployment of space weapons would face financial, technological, political and diplomatic hurdles, although no treaty or law bans Washington from putting weapons in space, barring weapons of mass destruction.
Stanley Kubrick’s and Terry Southern’s version of Armageddon gone crazy still seems outrageous and funny. The dialogue was partially quoted from actual writings of "think tanks" and Pentagon scenarios of the time--it is as real today as it was in 1964. How careless our elected officials and their appointees want to be with the lives they were sworn to protect seems to be, as my daughter would say—totally!
Russia would consider using force if necessary to respond if the US put a combat weapon into space, according to a senior Russian official.