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Resolutions & Amendments

28th International Convention - Los Angeles, CA (1988)

Star Wars

Resolution No. 54
28th International Convention
June 20-24, 1988
Los Angeles, CA


The Strategic Defense Initiative, or Star Wars, would cost up to one trillion dollars, or more; and


There are serious doubts by many noted scientists, computer experts, defense and foreign policy specialists that Star Wars could be made workable or is strategically feasible. For example, the computer hardware and programming are far beyond anything previously conceived. Even if Star Wars were made to work at best it would only destroy a modest percentage of incoming missiles, still leaving our civilian population vulnerable to annihilation. Despite initial claims as an umbrella against nuclear attack, Star Wars in now being targeted to protect missiles; and


Simple countermeasures could make our trillion-dollar investment obsolete before it is completed. Soviet killer satellites could knock out Star Wars controlling satellites. Opposing missiles could be modified to frustrate Star Wars by shortening the initial thrust, which is the lock-in phase of targeting, or by maintaining undetectable low-altitude flights. To counter SDI laser beams, missiles could be protected with a deflective mirror surface, or by maintaining a spin rotation in flight. Orbiting convex mirrors used in targeting laser beams could he destroyed by releasing sand or pellets in synchronous orbits. Finally, the Soviets would simply build a multitude of real and dummy missiles and warheads to overwhelm Star Wars technology at a fraction of the cost. This would spark a dramatic new arms race, greatly magnifying the odds that our civilization will end in nuclear holocaust; and


Star Wars would result in a shameful waste of America's financial, human and natural resources in a time of extraordinary need. During Reagan's term our national debt has increased by one and one half trillion dollars, yet he wants to spend another trillion on this boondoggle (without raising taxes). With America's tremendous social and economic needs, a trillion dollars could certainly be better spent. In addition, it is a waste to expend the talents of so many thousands of America's premier scientists, engineers and computer experts on a project that is of no value to our society, except as a futile effort to avoid our own extinction. Finally, Star Wars would waste vast quantities of precious natural resources. It is estimated that Star Wars would require one thousand launch vehicles, using vast amounts of material and fuel. Necessary components would include massive super computers, multiple, highly sophisticated satellites, some using nuclear fuel, and electric power generators that would equal one third of the total power required for the nation, yet would remain unused except in nuclear war. Like a teenager addicted to video games, we are choosing to exhaust our wealth on technological toys. Mystic charms are not a substitute for security; and


A historic strategic arms reduction agreement with the Soviet Union is within our grasp — blocked only by Reagan's stubborn insistence to move forward with Star Wars testing.


That AFSCME opposes any increased funding for research and development of "Star Wars" anti-ballistic missile systems. Further, AFSCME calls on the President to ensure that development at current funding levels proceeds in strict accordance with the provisions of the 1972 ABM Treaty.



John Birnel, President
Cecilia Saari, Recording Secretary
AFSCME Local 843, Council 28
Seattle, Washington