Idea of a Nuclear 'Umbrella' Is All Wet

The excellent article "Bush Makes Historic Call to Cut A-Arms," Sept. 30, perpetuates a very grave conceptual error in its subheadline.The subhead reads: "As the clouds of the cold war recede, the US proposes folding much of its nuclear umbrella." Nuclear umbrella? That suggests nuclear weapons are some sort of Mary Poppins contraption that will save us in the event of nuclear attack. Nonsense! Nuclear weapons are no shield. They are suicide machines and nothing else, whether they are our own or those of any other power. I applaud the steps Presidents Bush and Gorbachev are taking to reduce this threat. But please, let's keep it clear that we are reducing the common nuclear menace, not exposing ourselves to ruin by folding our nuclear "umbrella." If we are prisoners of the latter conception, we will be manipulated right back into the nuclear arms race. Earl L. Heuer, Grand Rapids, Mich. President, Institute for Global Education

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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