I cannot remain silent after reading "The Committed Life of Martin Sheen" by Charles Champlin, who blithely referred to Sheen's protest activities against nuclear weapons as "demonstrating in good causes" (May 19).
I quite disagree with that assessment.
It is nuclear weapons that have given us--in violation of historical pattern--this unprecedented stretch of decades without world war. Without nuclear weapons the United States and the Soviet Union would long since have sought the "glory" of battle that so easily tempts the young and brash.
If you long for the good old pre-nuke days, ask someone who lived through World War II how he or she liked it. Today, a war between major powers with modern conventional weapons would make World War II look like a water-balloon fight. We will get that war if we give up the only persuasion that seems to sink into our thick skulls: the certain annihilation of all of us if we insist on our old habits.
I hope that Sheen and other anti-nukers will quit hiding in their simplistic fantasies and work on our people problems because it is people that will cause a war.
The bombs are not the problem. We will not need them when we can learn to accept a less devastating deterrent, but for now, thank God that we have them.
PETER H. STEPHENSON