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Scaled-Down 'Star Wars'

March 22, 1988

Times reporters John M. Broder and Melissa Healy have been listening to Ronald Reagan, the great storyteller, too long ("Scaled Down 'Star Wars' on Path to Reality," Part I, March 14). They can no longer tell fantasy from reality.

Today's many times revised Strategic Defense Initiative bears no resemblance at all to the original "Star Wars," now admitted as an impossible fantasy. The original goals are undermined by the latest proposed system. Instead of protecting people, it protects weapons. Instead of enabling us to discard some offensive weapons, it defends them. Instead of eliminating the need to threaten retaliation, it increases that threat. Instead of eliminating deterrence, it enhances it.

Even this latest revision is technically infeasible. We will never be able to meet the crucial computer software requirements. If we can't trust the system and the Soviets can't ignore it, it only heightens uncertainty on both sides, making the world less safe. It's no more than a vast, and vastly expensive, escalation of the arms race.

I don't call this reality, I call it fraud!

RODNEY HOFFMAN

Los Angeles

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