Ballistic Missile Defense

Compiled by National Security News Service July 11, 1996

The following 45 commentaries, editorials, letters and stories oppose increased Federal spending on ballistic- missile defenses and/or military spending generally.


* Los Angeles Times, "Does America Need a 全tar Wars' Defense Against Missile Attack?," by Jennifer Weeks, 5/28/96
"To the extent that the Defend America Act claims to protect Americans against such threats, it would be better named the Defraud America Act."

* The Napa Valley Register, "What's Riggs' Defense Stand?," 5/14/96
"If we really want to balance the federal budget, does it make any sense to spend more than the Pentagon wants, or to keep intelligence budget information secret from taxpayers?"


* The Hartford Courant, "Star Wars is an awfully expensive Republican dream," by John MacDonald 5/25/96
"Despite supporters' glowing claims, analysts warn that the Republican plan may not enhance U.S. security for four reasons:"

* New Haven Register, "Fatal Flaw Cripples Missile Defense Plan," by John Hall, 6/3/96
"The Congressional Budget Office, which is non-partisan but controlled by the Republican majority, estimated that a defense of the continent against missile attack would cost somewhere between $31 billion and $60 billion."


* St. Petersburg Times, "Indefensible then and now," 5/19/96
"[T]his new and unimproved proposal to commit as much as $20 billion to an unproven, destabilizing defense system is nothing more than a political ploy that trivializes a deadly serious issue."

* The Miami Herald, "Fort Port gets reinforced," 5/20/96
"One of the most wasteful items is the $4 billion earmarked to construct a missile defense system by the year 2003. This dubious 全on of Star Wars' could wind up costing as much as $54 billion before it finally could be deployed."


* The Atlanta Constitution, "If missile-defense systems were horses," 5/23/96
"Why waste billions on a system that will not work, to defend against a threat that does not exist?"

* The Atlanta Constitution, "Cold Warriors Spend On," 5/19/96
"Twelve billion dollars here, 8 billion there, 20 billion beyond that and 4 billion in embarrassingly loose change."


* Post-Register, "Costly Rush to Star Wars Weapons," 5/17/96
"It doesn't make any sense to be cutting budgets for students, the elderly and low-income families so that the Pentagon can have billions more to develop a missile defense system that will be outdated by the time any nation poses a threat."


* Chicago Tribune, "A wise pause in missile defense," 5/24/96
"A thoughtful analysis produces this policy: robust research, yes, but no to setting an artificial date for deployment before these questions are answered."

* Chicago Tribune, "Missiles get GOP Attention," by Terry Atlas 5/22/96
"As for a missile threat from the likes of Iran or North Korea, the CIA says that it is at least 15 years away."

* Chicago Sun-Times, "Military Gets a Free Pass," by Jennifer Weeks, 6/20/96
"Any candidate who claims to be for lower deficits, but votes for B-2 bombers, or Star Wars defenses, has some serious explaining to do."


* The Baltimore Sun, "The Permanent War Economy," 5/22/96
"The U.S. is arming the world, thus making it a more dangerous place that will require hefty appropriations each year for the national defense. And Congress will go along, because each side of this neat trade-off means jobs, jobs, jobs for the home district."


* The Boston Globe, "The Missile Flap," 5/23/96
"Given the daunting technical challenges and the lack of a clear and present danger, this is a case of looking before leaping."

* The Boston Sunday Globe, "Missile flap backfires on Dole," by Thomas Oliphant, 5/26/96
"The subject is on the arcane side and lacks documented immediacy--the dream first popularized by Ronald Reagan more than a decade ago of an impermeable defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles.

* The Berkshire Eagle, "Newt's War Toy," 5/12/96
"The GOP revival of Star Wars, dubbed by its sponsors the 船efend America Act,' looks more political than military in intent."


* Bangor Daily News, "Military questions, spending," 4/16/96
"A review of the two-war strategy is overdue."

* Bangor Daily News, "Near miss." 6/6/96
"Under the military's plan, if a defense system were needed in the future, it would have the latest research to develop one. This more reasonable proposal is in line with the belt-tightening in other parts of the federal budget, and would likely produce a superior defense system."


* Star Tribune, "Errant Missile," 5/24/96
"The bill resurrects, in theory, Ronald Reagan's discredited "Star Wars' national missile defense system....Clinton's approach--to spend a few million dollars on missile-defense research while monitoring hostile nations--makes eminently more sense."


* St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "GOP's Misguided Budget Plan," 6/2/96
"Neither party's plan significantly reduces military spending, given the Cold War has been over for some time."

New Jersey

* The Star-Ledger, "Military Spending is Unreasonable," by Sam Zitter, 6/1/96
"Military spending remains in the stratosphere, while Medicare, Medicaid and environmental protection are being slashed."

New York

* The New York Times, "Star Wars, the Sequel," 5/14/96
"While Washington should keep researching possible defenses against limited or accidental long-range missile attacks, it should not make a commitment to build a system until the need and technology are clearer."

* The New York Times, "No Defense," by Joseph Cirincione, 5/8/96
"But since 1962, we have spent $99 billion on research for missile defenses--in vain.."

* The New York Times, "Wasteful Weapons Spending," 6/21/96
"President Clinton should veto a defense budget that includes ambitious plans for building ballistic-missile defenses or substantially exceeds his spending request."


* The Plain Dealer, "Does U.S. Need New Defense System?," 5/5/96
"And for all the claims of defending America against any and all attacks, the most sophisticated space-based defense system is helpless in the face of a single, earth-bound terrorist hell-bent on destruction."


* Statesman-Journal, "Defend America Act Impractical," 6/4/96
"Some members of Congress apparently see outer space as a black hole, to be filled with your tax dollars."


* Patriot & Evening News, "Offense is Best Missile Defense," 5/13/96
"The answer surely is that you do not place the fate of thousands of American lives on unproven technology of uncertain proficiency. You eliminate the threat before it eliminates you..."

* Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Veto bait," 5/18/96
"Separate House and Senate bills also would require deployment of a multisite nationwide missile defense system by 2003. President Clinton properly vetoed last year's spending authorization bill because it contained that same requirement."

* Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal, "How much for defense?" 5/16/96
"While President Clinton and Congress wrestle over how much to cut from domestic spending--the figure last week was in the $280 billion range--the House voted to add $12.9 billion to the already bloated military budget."

* Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal, "Rep. Weldon wrong about his Star Wars sequel," by Ed Ruoff, 7/4/96

"One of the more disturbing aspects of this fraudulent proposal is that it may divert us from addressing the practical dangers from rogue nations and terrorist groups."


* The Chattanooga Times, "Resurrecting Star Wars," 5/15/96
"There's nothing wrong with linking politics with defense-as long as it doesn't produce an unnecessary multi-billion-dollar spending spree, which a hasty deployment of this system would be."

Washington, D.C.

* The Washington Post, "The Last 15 Minutes," by Michael Krepon, 3/27/96
"Before spending large sums on the last 15 minutes of the problem, supporters of The Defend America Act would do well to shore up the front lines of defense....The most direct line of defense against nuclear danger is negotiated, verifiable reductions in nuclear reductions."

* The Washington Post, "Prudent Steps on Missile Defense," 5/14/96
"The administration's plan is realistic both in facing up to a rogue-missile threat and in taking into account the considered view of U.S. intelligence that the threat is more than 15 years away."

* The Washington Post, "Missile Defense-Extravagant and Unnecessary," by Karina Wood, 5/30/96
"While our generals watch the skies, bombs arrive in U.S. cities in cheap, unmarked suitcases and trucks."

* The Washington Post, "Fear of the Wrong Enemy," by Jessica Matthews, 5/28/96
"By any reasonable measure of matching risk to expense, these programs [Nunn-Lugar-Domenici] would return more security per dollar than the much larger sums being contemplated for a national missile defense against much more remote threats."

* The Washington Post, "GOP Freshmen's Anti-Missile Sticker Shock," by Jack Anderson and Michael Binstein, 6/3/96
"The deficit-hawk freshmen are unfazed by Gingrich's pleas to remember the defense buildup of the Reagan revolution."

* The Hill, "Republicans Rush into Ambush on Defense," by David Silverberg, 5/8/96
"The Republicans are not only losing the high ground in defense, they are rushing into an ambush.


* The Journal, "Missile shield not worth serious consideration," 5/30/96
"Spending billions to defend against a threat that is now almost non-existent, that may never exist and that in any case can be guarded against by cheaper and more effective means is the height of folly."

* Journal-Sentinel, "missile Defense: Less costly options are available," by Kathryn R. Schultz, 6/30/96
"Moreover, if a nation or terrorist group wanted to attack the U.S., why would it go to the trouble and huge expense of acquiring ballistic missiles when it could sail a bomb into New York Harbor or deliver it in the back of a moving van."


* USA Today, "Using Defense Budget as Jobs Program Robs Public," Our View, 5/20/96
"Members are acknowledging, however grudgingly, that defense spending is driven in part by its value as a local jobs program, not necessarily by the nation's priority needs."

* The Christian Science Monitor, "Spacey on Defense," 5/17/96
"It makes neither budgetary nor military sense."

* The Christian Science Monitor, "GOP 全tar Wars' Plan: Too Soon for a Sequel?," 5/15/96
"There are real nuclear dangers out there, evil groups with evil intents, but they are more likely to use truck bombs and suitcases to attack America than spend billions on a highly visible missile-delivery system that has a return address."

* Scripps-Howard News Service, "Budget-Seeking Missiles," 5/24/96
"The idea of a foolproof system that can detect, intercept and destroy incoming missiles is an attractive one and may be attainable one day, but that day isn't yet."

* Scripps-Howard News Service, "No Retirement Gift Needed," 6/5/96
"The other is a ballistic missile defense system, contained in the grandiosely named 船efend America Act,' which may or may not work but would certainly be enormously expensive, in the range of $32 billion to $60 billion over the next 14 years."

* "Blowing Up the Government," by Mary McGrory, 7/9/96
"The price tag on a Ballistic Missile Defense is estimated at $60 billion. To deploy the system would be to violate the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty."

The following 9 commentaries, editorials and letters support the "Defend America Act."


* Los Angeles Times, "Does America Need a 全tar Wars' Defense Against Missile Attack?" by Representative Dick Armey, 5/20/96
"We can only maintain our newfound security if we remain able--and willing--to defend."


* Portland Press-Herald, "U.S., Russia need global defense system," by Thomas Osborne, 5/20/96
"Perhaps the two nuclear powers should take collaboration more seriously and assist one another in building a global-based anti- missile system unconstrained by the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty..."

Washington, D.C.

* The Washington Post, "Unready for Rogue Threats," by Senator Thad Cochran, 5/8/96
"Some think tanks may be able to convince American leaders that they should not worry about emerging missile threats, but providing for the common defense is a constitutional responsibility those in authority dare not forfeit or ignore."

* The Washington Post, "The Need for National Missile Defense," by Charles P. Kelley, 6/8/96
"The Congressional Budget Office estimate of $30 billion to $60 billion, for example, includes space-based lasers. Even the CBO estimate is far less than the cost of one nuclear weapon exploding on U.S. soil."

* The Washington Times, "The Great Missile-Defense Rout," 5/24/96
"Ronald Reagan had the inspired vision of a shield that would protect American families from the threat of nuclear war...more than a decade later, the concept is still a dazzlingly brilliant one."


* The New Republic, "Go Ballistic," by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., 6/10/96
"Given the inexorably growing threat of ballistic missle attack against the U.S., its allies and forces overseas, it is certain that effective, global anti-missile defenses will be put into place to close the missile defense gap. The only remaining question is: Will it --as with Churchill's radar--be before we need it, or after?"

* USA Today, "Congress Holds the Line," by Representative Curt Weldon, 5/20/96
"We can avoid the up-and-down 喪oller coaster' budgets of the post-Vietnam era, but only if we act now to provide a consistent level of defense spending."

* "We won't need Star Wars? Beware such predictions." by George F. Will, 6/27/96
"A tendentious prediction is the Clinton administration's latest justification for its dilatory approach to defending the nation against the sort of ballistic missile attack that could be launched by a rogue nation."

* "In defense of Missile Defense," by William Safire, 5/12/96
"Because there is no perfect armor should not mean we stand naked."