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'Killing the Wrong Weapon'

December 27, 1987

The news carried in your columns Wednesday that the Midgetman program has set the Pentagon and the liberals at odds in an unusual way is not all that inexplicable. It is only more evidence of how the Star Wars project has perverted the logic of the whole defense program.

It began long since, when Lt. Gen. Abrahamson, who runs Star Wars, announced peevishly that the Soviets would have to stay within the SALT II limits if SDI was to be feasible. That was just before Reagan denounced SALT II, which freed the Soviets to add 6,000 warheads to their ICBM array. So much for rational programming!

It was about that time, too, that Cap Weinberger, our secretary of defense, announced that there was no possibility that Star Wars could protect the civilian population or cities or industrial areas: only the silos of our own strategic weapons.

So that meant that we really couldn't have Midgetman trundling around the countryside; we must be sure that incoming missiles are targeted on our silos. We could not sacrifice the idiot dream of Star Wars to a more effective missile system.

The Pharaohs had their pyramids; Franco his Valley of the Fallen; we must limit our defenses to preserve a monument to the sci-fi dream of an ineffective optimist. After all, those dreams do make you feel better, as the Maginot Line made the French feel better--until the debacle.

Let us hope that this presidential term may pass without this pipe dream leading to more appalling consequences and warping of our defense program.

FREDERIC E. PAMP

Santa Ynez

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