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'Back to the Test Ban'

September 05, 1986

Once again the Soviet Union has extended its nuclear testing moratorium and once again the Reagan Administration is expressing unequivocal opposition to an equivalent U.S. action.

Although John Tirman's article (Editorial Pages, Aug. 19), "Arguments Against a Test Ban Fizzle," briefly addressed the Administration's contentions, and your somewhat ambivalent editorial summarizes your own position, both articles do little more than scratch the surface of a debate that will probably be settled by the fall elections, yet will likely determine the course of arms control for the next decade.

Despite the Administration's adamant stance, the recent House vote (calling for a one-year ban on all tests exceeding one kiloton) and the Soviet extension virtually guarantee the debate's relevance through November. Unfortunately, neither action guarantees that the issue will receive the objective and comprehensive media coverage that it warrants.

Incredibly, a significant portion of the population is still unaware that the Soviet Union has not tested a nuclear weapon in more than a year. Worse, many who are aware of this possess only a rudimentary conception of the debate's elements.

DAVID JOSEPH TRICKETT

Irvine

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