Rushing to Armageddon: The Shocking Truth About Canada, Missile Defence, and Star Wars


229 pages
ISBN 0-7710-4162-4
DDC 358'.8'0973





Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable
Kingdom, Chile and the Nazis, and The Diplomacy of War: The Case of


This book, hopefully, is dated. It went to press shortly after the 2004
federal election, when the Martin government had not yet rejected
participation in Bush’s missile defence program. With good reason,
Hurtig feared that Defence Minister Bill Graham and other cabinet
ministers favoured Canada’s involvement, and that the minority Liberal
government could win a vote of confidence with assistance from Stephen
Harper’s Conservatives. Hurtig could not foresee that strong
opposition from rank-and-file Liberals, whose support the Martin
government could not risk losing, would trump other considerations.

Hurtig argues that (i) nuclear weapons still threaten the planet; (ii)
Bush’s missile shield will do little, if anything, to stop most of
them; (iii) Bush is destroying earlier arms control agreements; (iv) the
shield, once deployed, will provoke other countries into deploying even
more nuclear weapons and missiles; (v) the fewer such weapons there are,
the safer everyone will be; (vi) the shield will not protect us from
terrorists, who, like drug lords, can smuggle what they need; (vii)
given the consequences, North Korea is unlikely to attack the United
States; (viii) the Bush administration’s judgment to date has not been
sound (in 1999, candidate Bush promised not to “get bogged down in
‘vague, aimless and endless [military] deployments’”; Defense
Secretary Rumsfeld said of Iraq in July 2003, “I don’t do
quagmires”); (ix) contrary to international law and the stated
position of successive Canadian governments, Bush and Rumsfeld intend to
weaponize space; and (x) there are better uses for the money.

Hurtig rejects the counter-arguments that there would be
research-and-development contracts for Canadians; that Canadians might
have some influence in Washington if Canada participated in the shield;
that the shield would protect Canada (on the contrary, it might make
Canada a target through missile defence); that Canada could regain the
U.S. goodwill lost when Jean Chrétien refused to send troops to Iraq;
and—as Conservative leaders appear to believe—that America can do no

Yet the book may not be dated. The Canadian government to be elected
early in 2006 may seek to reverse course.


Hurtig, Mel., “Rushing to Armageddon: The Shocking Truth About Canada, Missile Defence, and Star Wars,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,