Space Symposium

The annual Space Symposium happened last week. During my aerospace engineering days, I attended this symposium two different years. Each time I bashfully looked away as I walked by demonstrators telling about the militarization of space, the massive military budget, and the threat of nuclear weapons. Since then, I have "jumped ship" and joined the peace activists. I wanted to join the demonstration this year but I was too nervous at the thought of confronting former missile defense systems coworkers. I've opted for a little "slactivism" instead. I look forward to the day when the US spends its precious dollars on more worthwhile goals.

Here's a letter to the editor that didn't get published in either of the local papers by Bill Sulzmann, founder of the Colorado Springs chapter of Citizens for Peace in Space.

"A very significant event will happen next week in Colorado Springs, the 26th annual U.S. Space Symposium. It will like be reported as a feel good news story, a great boost to tourism and the promise of many more local Pentagon dollars. There are other layers to this story that deserve a second look. This is actually a huge celebration and marketing event for the giants of the military industrial complex, 8,000 attendees, 140 exhibitors at two exhibition halls. Everything is sold out, even the brand new Cyber War daylong sharing session The gathering will last for 4 days (April 12-15) and include a major exposure of local school children to the wares and propaganda of giant corporations such as Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin and a host of subcontractors as well.

This is the epitome of business as usual.. These are the major players who lobby for and then get the lions share of the $800 billion pentagon annual budget. There will be a lot of civilian space stuff on display also. It's the "spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go
down". In this sense it is a rip off of bona fide space enthusiasts.

This event and others like it set the priorities for our future military policy. This is the continuation of a wrongheaded policy which is sending us off the cliff of overreach.

And all those Pentagon dollars coming our way will not lead to a better tax base for our local and state governments. Tax exemptions for local military bases take a big bite out of public revenue. This includes the thousands of"civilian" personnel who work in tax free government buildings at bases such as Peterson and Schriever.

The symposium bills itself as a look into a better future. It's just more of the same."

--Bill Sulzman

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