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.