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'Huge Cuts in Missiles?'

January 05, 1987

Simon Ramo builds his case for development of a strategic defense system ("Star Wars") in his article (Editorial Pages, Dec. 26), "Huge Cuts in Offensive Missiles?"

In his ideal scenario, offensive nuclear weapon reductions would take place while a defensive system is being developed by the United States and the Soviet Union.

It is unlikely that a defensive system will advance at the same rate in both countries. In the past 40 years the United States has been four to five years ahead of the Russians at almost every stage of nuclear weapons development. The Soviet Union fears we will again pull ahead of them in Star Wars development because of our superior technology.

Whoever controls space will control the world. Star Wars will provide the capability of destroying enemy satellites and paralyzing their defenses in a matter of seconds. If we gain superiority at any point, the Russians will feel threatened by the realization that we could carry out a first strike and then handle whatever missiles survive. Under those circumstances the Soviet Union might be tempted to carry out a pre-emptive strike.

Col. Robert Bowman (retired), former head of space weapons research for the Air Force, stated recently that "Star Wars has nothing to do with defense. It is an offensive weapon, it is a gigantic fraud." He urges a prudent research program to prevent technological surprises.

Let us remember that the Strategic Defense Initiative will not protect against submarine attack, cruise missiles from sea and air, or nuclear weapons brought into the country on small boats.

The world's leaders must solve the nuclear threat by means other than development of new and exotic technologies. A needed ingredient in the process of working out solutions is a new way of dealing with international differences. No longer will these differences be solved on the battlefield. We will have to learn to live together--or we will perish together in this Nuclear Age.

SAMUEL I. ROTH

Woodland Hills

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