Editor, Daily Nexus:
This letter was originally intended to simply respond to Gordon Silliker’s recent letter spouting the supposed merits of a National Missile Defense system (Reader’s Voice, “U.S. Missile Shield Is Best Protection From Attack,” May 1). Much to my dismay and disgust, however, the following day George W. Bush revealed his plans to scrap America’s support of the Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Defense Treaty to an appalled world. Hence, I am now faced with responding to Mr. Silliker’s erroneous statements, as well as this latest egregious affront from the Bush administration.
The only way Bush can pursue his bombastic aims of an atmospheric missile shield over the U.S. is by doing away with the pesky ABM treaty, which outlaws the militarization of space and the construction of such missile shields. The 1972 ABM treaty has been a cornerstone of the arms control movement for 30 years and is vital to the goal of world peace. Yet, Bush stated Wednesday, “We must move beyond the constraints of the 30-year-old ABM treaty.” We can safely assume the constraints he’s referring to are those that would hold him in check as he seeks to bring outer space into the U.S. sphere of influence. The U.S. space command recently published its “Vision for 2020,” stating, incredibly, “The U.S. military wants to ‘control’ space to protect its economic interests and establish superiority over the world … leading to Full Spectrum Dominance” (i.e. land, air, sea and space). Does anyone else find that statement as chilling as I do?
Mr. Silliker states, “We cannot rely on Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) to keep us safe until the end of time,” and I agree with him. Yet, while his solution is to invest in an unrealistic and astronomically priced (possibly costing more than $300 billion) game of Star Wars, my solution is to steadily and unilaterally disassemble the world’s nuclear arsenal.
Luckily, the international community (if not our current administration) agrees overwhelmingly with me. In 1996, the World Court ruled that possessing a nuclear arsenal is impermissible under international law and ordered all nations to accomplish abolition forthwith. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a major step towards abolition, and has been signed by 155 nations, including Russia, Britain, France and China. But the U.S. has refused to ratify the CTBT. Meanwhile, the “rogue states” we are supposedly protecting ourselves from have a combined military budget of just 3 percent of our own and their limited nuclear capabilities would be effectively nullified under the auspices of the CTBT. Basically, if we truly want to increase our security, as Silliker implies, there are safer, cheaper, more effective and saner ways to do so.