Love those weapons


It's often forgotten that the classic 1964 anti-war satirical film, "Dr. Strangelove," carried a rather bulky subtitle, which was: "Or, How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Bomb."

That pretty much tells what's happened in the first two weeks of the Persian Gulf war; the brass hats have succeeded in getting the romance of weaponry back on track by daily touting the dazzling feats of planes and missiles.

So it comes as no surprise that proponents of "Star Wars" have seized the moment to urge that their favorite weapons system be restored to the prominence it had in the Reagan administration before it was quietly relegated by President Bush to the deep freezes of the Pentagon's contingency planning sections.

The argument goes like this: Since the Patriot missiles have proven to be so successful in shooting down Iraqi Scud missiles, then let's build "Star Wars" right away -- and hang the cost -- so we can shoot down all ballistic missiles.

That argument is about as ludicrous as saying that now that we've put astronauts on the moon, let's put a few on the sun.

Even if you accept the analogy as valid, the fact remains that the Patriot is unable to stop around 20 percent of the relatively primitive Scud missiles which Iraq keeps lobbing at Israel and Saudi Arabia. And if just one of the Scuds that did get through had carried a nuclear warhead, that would have been quite enough to do the job, thank you. A dozen more would have only made the radioactive rubble bounce.

We must not buy the specious analogy being drawn by the "Star Wars" partisans and start back down the road that would only be costly, dangerous and ultimately wasteful.

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