While the attention of moviegoers is riveted on the latest “Star Wars” release, a potentially catastrophic real-life space drama is playing largely behind the scenes. It could come to a head very soon with the proclamation of a new presidential directive calling for U.S. military superiority in space.

Since George W. Bush took office in 2001, the military-industrial complex has greatly intensified its longstanding drive to fundamentally change U.S. policy to permit the aggressive weaponization of space.

In January that year, a commission headed by soon-to-be Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recommended that the military “should ensure that the president will have the option to deploy weapons in space.”

In 2002, Bush cleared the way for this by unilaterally destroying the Anti- Ballistic Missile treaty which for 30 years was the bedrock barring an arms race in space.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon and the arms industry have been hard at work developing potential new ways to rain Armageddon down on Earth.

Among items on the drawing boards:

• a military space plane bristling with precision-guided arms that could strike in 45 minutes from halfway around the world.

• a program nicknamed “Rods from God” that could fling cylinders of tungsten, titanium or uranium to strike targets on the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon.

• a system of space-based mirrors to focus laser beams on ground targets.

Many experts question whether these systems will work, citing the persistent difficulties that have plagued efforts to build ground-based anti-missile systems.

But whether or not any of the weapons would work, these programs will be catastrophic.

At the very least, they are further boondoggles for the giant corporations in the far-right section of the U.S. ruling class that backs the Bush administration. They will move new trillions of dollars from human needs to feed already obscene military-industrial-complex profits.

And should the proposed space weapons actually work, the consequences promise to make even the most gruesome science-fiction spectacle look like child’s play.

Don’t wait — rush to the nearest mailbox-phone-fax machine. Tell your representatives in Congress: No real-life Star Wars!