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Giving Up SDI and Arms Control

November 13, 1986

Richard Pipes' article (Editorial Pages, Oct. 21), "Call Iceland What It Was--a Trap" and Jeremy Stone's, (Editorial Pages, Oct. 24), "Scrapping Ballistic Missiles Would Benefit Both Sides" present a thought-provoking contrast.

Pipes argues that we must retain our ballistic missiles and protect them with the Strategic Defense Initiative, because Soviet strategy calls for "massive preemptive strikes against U.S. deterrents."

Jeremy Stone, director of the Federation of American Scientists, says that mutual elimination of ballistic missiles " . . . would not undermine U.S. security in the slightest." He argues that bombers with the new cruise missiles and stealth technology would be ample protection.

Mutually eliminating ballistic missiles, he says, would: (1) eliminate the incentive (and capacity) for a first strike with missiles, (2) provide more time for averting a nuclear war by lengthening the "delivery time," (3) improve our chances for effective command and control, (4) vastly reduce the megatonnage (thus fallout and environmental damage) of a nuclear exchange.

Pipes also says, " . . . U.S.-Soviet tensions are not caused by weapons; the weapons are the result of tensions." True, but new, destabilizing weapons can increase tensions.

If our interests are best served by protecting our land and people, Pipes loses the argument when he says, "Even if SDI were capable of intercepting only a portion of incoming missiles, it would make a first strike a very risky gamble." It would indeed, for us as well as the Soviets.

We should all express our appreciation to President Reagan for making an impressive effort to reduce tensions, for establishing goals (deep reductions) which would make the world safer, and for being willing to risk negotiating for them himself.

Finally, we should encourage our President to override Pipes and the other "hawks" and give up SDI because: without ballistic missiles it will be useless (it can't protect us against cruise missiles, "suitcase" bombs, etc.); and SDI will make the Russians even more nervous, which will not promote our safety but could promote an accidental holocaust.


Woodland Hills

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