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Pentagon Unveils the Stealth Bomber

December 03, 1988

The B-2 stealth bomber is an obscenely expensive and dangerous weapon that threatens to escalate the nuclear-arms race at a time when the growing federal budget deficit and the increasing poverty, homelessness and other social problems in our nation are crying out for immediate attention and a cut in military spending.

The Times has reported (Part I, Nov. 20) that each stealth bomber will cost over $500 million, and that the Air Force plans to buy 132 of them at a cost to the taxpayers of $68 billion. Given this price tag, cartoonist Paul Conrad's Thanksgiving portrayal of the stealth bomber as a "turkey" (Nov. 25) is both funny and apropos. However, the B-2 is no joke.

According to The Times (Part I, Nov. 21), the stealth bomber is designed to slip through Soviet radar defenses undetected and attack SS-24 and SS-25 mobile missiles. Since these are the very missiles that the Soviet military intends to hold in reserve in time of war as a retaliatory force to deter a nuclear first strike by the U.S., the targeting of these missiles with the B-2 will force the Soviets to put them on a perilous "hair-trigger" alert. In a time of crisis, the Soviets could be faced with a "use-them-or-lose-them" decision. Thus, the stealth bomber may actually bring humanity to the brink of nuclear war.

Webster's New World Dictionary notes that the word "stealth" once meant "theft." I suggest that the stealth bomber be renamed the "theft bomber." At a time when our annual federal budget deficit is running in the hundreds of billions, it is clear that the $68-billion stealth bomber fleet is being bought on credit, and our children will be asked to pay the bill as soon as they are old enough to pay taxes.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed." The stealth bomber represents a theft that is all the more criminal, because it will surely spark another escalation in the nuclear-arms race, and not a soul on earth will be any more secure as a result.

WILLIAM BOTHAMLEY

San Diego

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