Wolfgang Panofsky's article on the Strategic Defense Initiative (Editorial Pages, July 11), "Star Wars Isn't a Science Yet," is remarkable, not for its insight, but rather for the lack of memory Panofsky displays.
Panofsky's article criticizes SDI as the catalyst for a new arms race. Moreover, he says, it is technically dubious, economically ruinous, and a violation of the ABM Treaty.
His opinion on the subject, however, has not always been so negative. The signing of the 1972 ABM agreement was the culmination of a furious strategic and scientific debate in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Panofsky was one of the individuals at the center of that debate. He would do well to remember his arguments then before delivering any more sermons now.
In 1969, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Panofsky spoke on behalf of an agreement limiting ABM systems. But he also advocated their development at some point in the future if certain conditions appeared in the strategic balance.