Your editorial "Missiles: the Right Choice" (May 4) misses the mark entirely. The Midgetman missile, which you endorse, will not be built for the overriding reason that it's unaffordable.
The Senate last year recognized the shortcomings of the all-too-expensive Midgetman missile, chopping the Pentagon request for $1.5 billion to $700 million. The reduced budget subsequently caused enough contracts to be cancelled and schedules to slip that no matter how much Congress provides this year, the deployment of the first Midgetman missile won't occur until 1996 at the earliest--four years after originally scheduled.
You admit in your editorial that the price is "steep." But how steep is steep? Five hundred Midgetman missiles would cost over $50 billion. The same amount of money could fund 200 rail-mobile MX missiles (having four times the deterrent capability), or double the number of Trident II submarines as currently planned, or triple the number of planned Stealth bombers.
Put another way, it's possible to build the rail-mobile MX force, which is equally survivable and poses no greater first-strike threat than the Midgetman, while saving $25 billion!