The editorial ``No Rush to SDI,'' Feb. 1, unfairly criticizes expanded funding for the Strategic Defense Initiative. The Soviet Union is now selling once-secret space technology to anyone willing to pay. The Scuds sold to Iraq could be followed by the sale of more lethal weapons with longer range and sophisticated guidance systems. Diplomatic agreements alone cannot guarantee that the proliferation and independent development of offensive capability will cease.
After seeing Scuds rain down on Tel Aviv and Riyadh, it doesn't take a great leap of imagination to realize that the same thing could happen to US cities. The prospect of a US counterattack has deterred the Soviets. But as we have seem, against an adversary such as Saddam Hussein, there is no such thing as deterrence.
It would be a sad day if we witnessed warheads falling on our cities with the full knowledge that we had the scientific, economic, and technical means to protect ourselves, but lacked the political courage to prepare.
James Frost Davis, Cambridge, Mass.
Quotations about war The compilation of quotations in ``War Through the Ages,'' Feb. 5, generates the following thought: If toymakers were required to tell the full story, they would have to produce models of wounded, maimed, and dead soldiers, crumpled and burned vehicles and aircraft, shattered bunkers, and other toys depicting war's aftermath. That would help discourage future generations from playing the game in which everyone loses.
Ray RobRoy, Phoenix
The selection of quotations is excellent, and attributing a quotation to the wrong person is hardly a casus belli, but for the record, it was Herodotus, not Francis Bacon, who first wrote, ``In peace the sons bury their fathers and in war the fathers bury their sons.'' Milton Birnbaum, Springfield, Mass.
The quotations are interesting, but you should have included another one from Dwight Eisenhower: ``War settles nothing.'' Richard Winter, Chicago
A grand experiment in peace To a veteran of World War II, images and reports from the Gulf reawaken the feeling of standing at the portal of a new era in the unfolding drama of the family of man.
Do the coalition governments have the ability to convert this opportunity into a grand experiment in beating swords into plowshares?
I suggest that the coalition governments take steps to bring Iraqi POWs - on a voluntary basis - to their individual countries to give them some basic educational training in the precepts of democracy and the evolving global outlook of the rest of the developed world.
The favorable elements are many: shared roots of the three monotheistic religions; multiple scholarly, governmental, and private organizations devoted to promoting better relations between Arab, Christian, and Jew; the consciousness of need for new ideas and outlooks that follows the trauma of war.
There are also hurdles: international conventions on the treatment of POWs that would limit exposure of POWs to indoctrination; habits of thought among religious groups and scholarly organizations that might oppose such an experiment.
But it is the necessity of the family of man to move forward to a new unity based on mutual understanding rather than violence. Our family can't afford not to try the open door.
Richard W. Elliott, Idyllwild, Calif.