Magazine article Insight on the News

Berkeley City Council Votes to Ban U.S. Invasion of Space. (Nation in Brief)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Berkeley City Council Votes to Ban U.S. Invasion of Space. (Nation in Brief)

Article excerpt

If you're afraid of being zapped by a space-based laser beam or some other diabolical orbiting weapon, move to Berkeley, Calif. That enlightened commune-ity has banned all such devices from operating over its territorial limits, thereby becoming the first city in the world to do so. With a nod toward the grim realities, the City Council also asked the rest of the world to follow suit.

What Berkeley is up to is providing a show of support for Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich's Space Preservation Act, to be reintroduced in Congress next year after an unsuccessful first time out.

Coupled with the Space Preservation Treaty, Kucinich's proposal would ban all space-based weapons, or the use of weapons on earth to damage objects ill orbit. Kucinich, chairman of both the House Aviation and Space Caucus and the House Progressive Caucus, says stopping the weaponization of space will be a big step toward creating "a world where war no longer becomes inevitable."

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called the ban "a milestone in history" and predicted that communities across the country would follow Berkeley's lead. But this view is not universal. James Clay Moltz, associate director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and an advocate of the middle ground between a complete ban and hard-line militarization of space, termed the treaty proposal "a marker of opposition to current [Bush] administration policies. …

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