The Open Invitation to Ban Nuclear Testing

The article ``US-Soviet Agenda Broadens,'' Sept. 28, discusses this decade's biggest news story that isn't: the Soviet Union's ``standing offer to halt all nuclear testing `any day and hour, if the United States reciprocates.''' Here is the holy grail of nuclear-arms control within reach, and the US government refuses to accept it. Further, the American public remains mute about it. Not only would a comprehensive nuclear test ban promote a long-range deceleration of the superpower nuclear-arms race, it would represent the start of a serious US effort to contain nuclear-weapon proliferation. A nuclear test ban would also help Mikhail Gorbachev politically; his continued effectiveness is vital to US future security and prosperity.

President Bush could give the world a great gift by joining with the USSR in a permanent comprehensive freeze on nuclear testing. It's up to the American people to ask their leaders for it. Gregory Wright, Encino, Calif.

Government at home Regarding the article ``US Homelessness Rising Despite Growing Efforts,'' Oct. 5: How much is the Bush administration really helping the poor in the US who have no place to live and raise families? Millions of dollars are being allotted to help Poles and Hungarians, and to interfere in the Nicaraguan election, but the world's richest country pleads poverty when it comes to helping its own citizens in need.

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The democrat-controlled US Congress is certainly not without fault. It is still practicing the cold war ideology that provides funds wherever it senses opposition to socialism and communism. The US Constitution maintains that the purpose of government is to promote the general welfare, but neglecting the poor and homeless while spending freely to influence others around the globe is not promoting the general welfare. Nor is failing to pay bills at the United Nations justified when US funds are used to aid and influence foreign governments.

The time has long come for the administration and Congress to reestablish priorities so that the government is a tool to help all US citizens, not just those who do business with or lobby in Washington. What has become of compassion and care in government? James and Nora Werner, San Diego, Calif.

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