I am willing to credit Coffey with ingenuousness in trotting out St. Augustine's old just-war theory. My guess is that he, too, went to Catholic college where that collection of propositions (which might have been relevant when wars were waged with stones and pointed sticks) was taught by straight-faced philosophers and theologians, most of whom had never been to or seen a war.
However, it requires more credulity than I can bring to the subject to accept Coffey's presumption that because this strategic initiative is called "defensive," it is, indeed, intended to serve purely defensive ends. Our government makes no effort to disguise its intent to use such a shield (could it even conceivably come to reality) to pursue relentlessly its development of increasingly offensive weapons.
Coffey's position that SDI represents a heretofore unavailable technology to limit nuclear war is wrong on its face. We had the technology to invent nuclear war and we had/have the technology to disinvent it. What we lack--and have lacked--is the will to use the technology to back away from a monumentally lethal policy and program that is embraced by us and the daily growing nuclear club.
To paraphrase the anti-gun controllers: nuclear bombs don't kill people; people who brandish them and live by them will eventually kill and die by them--SDI apologists to the contrary notwithstanding.
Kelley is a member of the board of the Interfaith Center to Reverse the Arms Race.