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Op-Ed: Los Angeles Doesn’t Need a Space Force Station

After a year of constituents demanding COVID relief, Mayor Garcetti and Governor Newsom announce LA is getting a Space Force station.

US Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, during a ‘Q&A’ portion concerning the Space Force at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA, April 8, 2021. (Source: LA Air Force Base)

With California’s leaders dealing with a massive housing and homlessness crisis, climate change, and unemployment, they’ve made the bold decision to take active steps that make all of those things even worse: investing all of that money that could help Angelenos into a Space Force command station.

A tweet from Mayor Eric Garcetti on April 8, 2021. Ratio emphasis author’s. (Source: Twitter)

In a statement about the decision to bring a Space Force unit to the Los Angeles area—specifically at the Los Angeles Air Force Base’s Space and Missile Systems Center in El Segundo—Governor Newsom announced that “…it represents a slew of new good-paying jobs as we continue to rebuild our economy better than before. My Administration made it a priority to push for more federal investment in the defense aerospace industry…”

If the threat to peace that the further militarization of space poses isn’t enough to demonstrate why this is a bad idea, here are a few more reasons that Governor Newsom is almost certainly aware of the ramifications of this decision of and choosing to not tell you:

As far as job creation, defense spending is one of the worst investments that can be made. Fields like green energy, healthcare, education, and infrastructure (all of which are desperately needed in California) all create far more jobs per dollar spent than defense. Brown University’s Costs of War project puts it succinctly : “$1 million spent on defense creates 6.9 direct and indirect jobs, the same amount spent on elementary and secondary education creates 19.2 jobs. $1 million spent on healthcare creates 14.3 jobs.”

(Source: Cost of War Project)

Additionally, it’s just not okay to profit off of death and destruction. Newsom’s argument makes about as much sense as celebrating the jobs created in the methadone industry thanks to the opioid crisis.

In a different timeline, the governor of a state dealing with a global pandemic that has caused over 60,000 deaths and all but completely depleted its ICU capacity might make different demands of the federal government.

Or perhaps a city whose mayor saw its teachers picket in the rain for weeks for better pay and conditions for students wouldn’t be celebrating diverting resources away from education and into endless wars. If Garcetti did that though, who would supply the kids to go fight in them? Instead of giving billions in federal spending to Space Force, responsible leaders would divert that funding into programs like the Homes Guarantee instead, given the 161,000 Californians currently living on the street.

In addition to all of those issues, if the new Star Wars doesn’t lead to all of our deaths from a third world war, the coming climate apocalypse brought on in large part by the military probably will.

For those who aren’t aware, the Department of Defense is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and exists now largely to fight wars on behalf of the petroleum industry.

At least while safe in California we are not and will never be impacted by climate change. (Source: California Governor’s Office)

Any rational person would not want anything to do with a department such as this, let alone one that has been lying to the public about the war in Afghanistan since its inception.

This step backwards in our fight against the military industrial complex comes with President Biden’s ask for a defense budget increase up to $753 billion. We need to be working to end our relationship to war, not deepening it. Our current elected officials, regardless of party, are clearly unfit to deal with the challenges facing our communities. Once again here’s, the quote from that guy (President Eisenhower) that coined “military industrial complex,” in case anyone who can get through to these people reads this:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

“This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

John Motter is an organizer with Ground Game LA and About Face: Veterans Against The War.