The U.S. must strengthen its ballistic missile defenses against Iran

If Iran gets the bomb the U.S. will need a strong BMD program.

Columnist Cal Thomas is right when he says that "burnishing a president's legacy is not a sufficient reason to trade away American and Israeli security" ("U.S. negotiations with Iran are a dangerous farce," Nov. 8).

A "deal" with Iran that doesn't fully eliminate the country's nuclear capabilities only increases the risks we face.

That is why Congress must step up and fully fund the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense ballistic missile defense program; it's our only real defense against a missile launched at the U.S. homeland by Iran.

After nine successful live-fire tests, the GMD has persuasively shown its effectiveness and ability to destroy enemy missiles outside of Earth's atmosphere.

But this decade-old-system needs to be improved and upgraded. The military has asked for more interceptors to counter the growing threat. Experts all agree that we need new radars and sensors to better track missile threats. Building a new interceptor base on the East Coast is also clearly needed to protect us from the threat.

A bad deal with Iran is worse than no deal at all. Fortunately, our wise investments in missile defense can protect us even if negotiations fail.

Paul J. Pena, Albuquerque, N.M.

The writer is a retired U.S. Army brigadier general.

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