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This article appears in the February 14, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.


Can the ‘Space Force’ Become the Platform for a ‘Second American Reconstruction’?

[Print version of this article]

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White House/Shealah Craighead
Charles McGee, a 100-year-old former Tuskegee Airman and World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veteran, with his 13-year-old great-grandson, Iain Lanphier, both recognized by President Trump in his State of the Union Address.

Feb. 10—If, on or around the April-May 75th commemoration of the anniversary of the end of World War II, a world summit conference occurs involving Presidents Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, and Donald Trump (and perhaps others), is it possible that prior public discussion of joint development of capabilities for a Strategic Defense of the Earth, as well as returning mankind to the Moon and on to Mars, could encourage those leaders to begin a transition to a new era of civilization?

In Donald Trump’s January State of the Union Address, the promise of such a future was, not stated, but adumbrated in the President’s homage to the 100-year old World War II veteran, Tuskegee Airman Charles Edward McGee, and his 13-year-old great-grandson. While many have worried correctly that such a space force might be used by elements of the British-influenced “military industrial complex” merely to promote confrontation with China and Russia, leading to even more dangerous opportunities for strategic miscalculation and disaster, it were wise to consider how vigorous public interest in a revitalized, NASA-based civilian space program could also indirectly influence that new institution, and direct the United States away from war, not toward war.

The recognition of the Tuskegee Airmen in the course of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, is of particular significance, in that it was explicitly connected to his reference to the creation of the Space Force as the newest branch of the American military. President Trump said:

In the gallery tonight, we have one of the Space Force’s youngest potential recruits: 13-year-old Iain Lanphier, an eighth grader from Arizona. Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy. He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then, he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, “Most people look up at space, I want to look down on the world.”

Sitting beside Iain tonight is his great hero. Charles McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio, one century ago. Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen—the first black fighter pilots—and he also happens to be Iain’s great-grandfather. After more than 130 combat missions in World War II, he came back to a country still struggling for Civil Rights and went on to serve America in Korea and Vietnam. On December 7th, Charles celebrated his 100th birthday. A few weeks ago, I signed a bill promoting Charles McGee to Brigadier General. And earlier today, I pinned the stars on his shoulders in the Oval Office. General McGee: Our Nation salutes you.

From the pilgrims to our Founders, from the soldiers at Valley Forge to the marchers at Selma, and from President Lincoln to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Americans have always rejected limits on our children’s future.

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EIRNS/Stuart Lewis
Founding Vice-President of the Schiller Institute, Amelia Boynton Robinson, addressing a rally in Washington, D.C. on November 25, 1984.

Look Back to Dr. King

President Trump’s recognition of the African-American military component of the U.S. population, certainly larger at this time than at any other time in history, should be placed in the context of the march organized 35 years ago by the Schiller Institute on the occasion of the very first Martin Luther King Holiday weekend, a time when no one else in the country so celebrated.

On January 15, 1985, Martin Luther King’s actual birthday, ten thousand persons organized by the Schiller Institute demonstrated in front of the Capitol on the D.C. mall. On that occasion, the primary sign displayed was “We Have a Dream—Feed Africa and Build the Beam.” This referred to Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI, a policy conceived and designed by Lyndon LaRouche, the founder of this magazine. LaRouche had, in his 1984 campaign, including through groundbreaking one-half hour television addresses, sought to educate the American population as to how the laser machine-tool capabilities that were to be developed for the SDI could be applied to all areas of American production, leading to the most innovative technological breakthroughs for American production since the invention of the assembly line itself.

Further, LaRouche designed a longer television presentation, called The Power of Labor, and a had published a companion book, So You Wish To Learn All About Economics?, all as campaign supplements, which allowed specialists to get inside of his thinking on these matters.

The January 1985 Martin Luther King Demonstration’s “Feed Africa and Build the Beam” demand was a product of that LaRouche initiative. Not only was that not strange: it was exactly in keeping with the original intent of King’s 1963 March on Washington, called the March for Jobs and Freedom, which was supported most notably by the United Auto Workers of Detroit. That city, which had the highest living standard of any urban center in America in 1963, could support that standard as a result of the increasing skill levels of its workforce, and it was through gaining those skill levels that King thought, as did the Tuskegee Airmen, that equality could be achieved.

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EIRNS/Stuart Lewis
On January 15, 1985, in Washington, D.C., the Schiller Institute holds a 10,000-person “March for the Inalienable Rights of Man,” honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.

So, in 1985, chapters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. King’s organization, joined the Schiller Institute in that demonstration from different parts of the nation. Notably, Amelia Boynton Robinson of Tuskegee, Vice President of the Schiller Institute, and heroine of the Selma Voting Rights Campaign of 1965, brought 500 people to that event. Earlier, Robinson had in 1981 assisted the Fusion Energy Foundation in an unsuccessful attempt to have Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), where Charles McGee had trained in 1942 as a pilot, establish a fusion research program in the Department of Engineering. That same year, The Industrialization of Africa book of the Fusion Energy Foundation was the basis of an all-day forum, including instructors and LaRouche organization members, held at the Institute and sponsored by the Tuskegee student body president and student council.

Tuskegee, A Powerful Force

Tuskegee has for 140 years been on the forefront of American scientific education, focusing on the development of a skilled labor force as the primary weapon in winning the struggle for human rights anywhere, including in America. The Institute was founded as an industrial school and at the same time as a rear-guard action to mitigate the lethal effects of the post-Civil War backlash against President Ulysses Grant’s temporary elimination of the Ku Klux Klan. It was created by Booker T. Washington in 1881, just after the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia, at which Washington himself had been educated. Hampton (now Hampton University) has been the source of many African-American mathematicians, engineers and scientists, as was recently documented and portrayed in the book and movie Hidden Figures.

President Trump’s elevation of Charles McGee to Brigadier General was a way of recognizing literally thousands of American servicemen, many of whom gave their lives for a principle that they preferred to exemplify, rather than simply espouse: the General Welfare, “for ourselves and our posterity.” Though they themselves would not enjoy the benefits, it was in fighting and dying, in a war against fascism, for a country whose future generations would absolve that nation itself of its earlier compromises, that their identity truly lay. The fact that McGee’s great-grandson bore witness to the promise of this future, and that McGee was there to witness that promise as spoken by the American Presidency, revealed the deeper truth underlying the entire ceremony.

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Former Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee being honored at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., during a Black History Month program on February 5, 2020. He was recently promoted to Brigadier General by President Trump.

Prior to and during World War II, there were 992 aviators trained at the Tuskegee, Alabama airfield, and the Tuskegee Institute. Four hundred fifty-two of the 992 were pilots who fought in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe, under the command of Colonel Benjamin O. Davis. They were referred to as “the black Red Tail angels.” Four squadrons, comprising the 332nd fighter group, were a single fighter unit in the 15th Air Force. Sixty-six of the Tuskegee airmen were killed in aerial combat. Another 32 were either forced down or shot down. According to Lt. Col. Charles W. Dryden, the Tuskegee Airman who hailed from the Bronx who was nicknamed “A Train”:

For every black pilot there were ten other civilian or military black men and women on ground support duty. . . . Many of these men and women remained in the military service during the post-World War II era and spearheaded the integration of the arm forces in the U.S. Air Force in 1949.

How did he and others get involved, despite segregation and the non-existence of apparent means of entry to such exclusionary military programs?

Dryden, in his autobiography, writes:

Tucked way in the back pages of the Bronx Home News one Saturday was an article that I happened to see. Just a few lines announcing that the United States Congress had passed a bill enabling the War Department to accept applications for aviation cadet training from “Negroes.” Of course the recruiting office was closed on Saturday. That was the longest weekend of my life, but finally it was Monday and I opened the recruiting office at 39 Whitehall Street.

Dryden had been trained through the Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) program at City College of New York and had his flying license at age 20.

As Tuskegee Airman pilot instructor Daniel “Chappie” James, later to become the first African-American four-star general, said:

My mother used to say: “Don’t stand there banging on the door to opportunity, then, when someone opens it, you say, ‘Wait a minute, I got to get my bags.’ You be prepared with your bags of knowledge, your patriotism, your honor, and when somebody opens the door, you charge in.”

This is the stuff of which Charles McGee, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the World War II generation were made. The same can be said for the present moment with respect to a combined civilian and military science research and engineering emphasis, utilizing such a proposal as the “higher platform” from which to address the reconstruction of America’s cities, and America’s workforce. When somebody opens the door to the future of mankind, you charge in. That is the door that today’s public discourse, on matters of space, a new economic platform, and an end to war, must open, to encourage the dialogue of America with its former World War II allies, free of ideology and fear.

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