SD-Itis

THE Strategic Defense Initiative has become still another dubious litmus test - in this case for indicating which presidential candidate is strongest on national defense. The GOP platform commits the party to ``rapid and certain deployment of SDI as technologies permit.'' SDI enthusiasts say technologies already exist that would permit deployment in a limited way. Last week George Bush said he backed funding for SDI research at levels President Reagan has sought. But he indicated he would defer a decision to deploy until ``all the cards are on the table.''

Mr. Bush would now entertain a limited role for a deployed defense; in July he said he wouldn't. He also suggests that cost could affect deployment.

Gov. Michael Dukakis condemns ``star wars,'' as SDI is widely known, as ``...a fantasy, a fraud, and we ought to stop spending billions for it.'' Actually, he does favor research on strategic defense, but at its pre-1983 level. At that time funding was about $1 billion a year.

And which vision of strategic defense is he criticizing? The President's leakproof space-based umbrella, in which case his assessment is probably right. But that says nothing about his views on a more limited system. After all, the Antiballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 allows the United States to field ground-based defenses to protect one target; currently it defends none.

The SDI dispute shows a pragmatic Republican and a flexible Democrat arguing how best to spend finite sums of money to maintain national security.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK