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'Back to the Test Ban'

September 05, 1986

To make the world safer, President Reagan should accept Gorbachev's challenge to join an immediate nuclear test ban and proceed with the elimination of all nuclear weapons by the year 2000. Absolute verification is now possible, and therefore not a plausible excuse for delay.

The world is at a critical crossroad between creative initiatives toward a world beyond war or the dangerous, well-worn path of increasing armaments. Militarism has been the destroyer of civilizations and in this nuclear age will surely lead to world destruction.

It is a gross deception of the American people and an obscenity before God to trust the security of the United States to a huge nuclear arsenal with false promises of protection by the Strategic Defense Initiative. Even if "Star Wars" could explode incoming missiles, life on earth would be destroyed by radioactive fallout from these explosions.

President Reagan could be an effective leader toward world peace if he would send to the arms negotiations, with his blessings, some of the country's genuine peacemakers. By sending only his expert hawks with minds set in the concrete of war-making, Reagan reveals as false all his platitudes about wanting peace.

By continuing his unilateral test ban, Gorbachev demonstrates his desire for peace and an amazing, persistent patience with Reagan's recalcitrance. If the President would earnestly, sincerely join Gorbachev in seeking peace, together they could vastly reduce the probability of a nuclear holocaust, and raise hopes for peaceful co-existence.

FRANCES BOWLING

Pacific Grove

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