Even small nukes make big messes

In the July 20 article entitled "Why Bush team is no fan of arms-control treaties" you correctly report that the Bush administration is "considering underground testing of a new class of smaller nuclear weapons that might be able to, say, blow up the underground bunker of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein but spare civilians nearby."

Calculations show this can't be done.No presently conceivable technology can enable a missile or bomb to bury itself so deeply (at least 600 feet) that the earth above will contain a nuclear explosion one-third the power of the Hiroshima bomb. On the contrary, such an underground explosion would eject large amounts of radioactive soil, making it a very dirty blast, causing many civilian casualties.

Even if this were not so, use of any US nuclear weapon would lower the barriers against other nations crossing the nuclear firebreak. It is hard to imagine a more counterproductive act.

Robert Sherman Director, Strategic Security Project Federation of American Scientists Washington

Europeans have a point

The July 18 article "Why Europe loves to lecture US" peppers the explanation of European demonstrations against President Bush's visit with editorial comments. The articlecasts aspersions on the European character and attempts to neutralize the onerous US policies.Europe may have always had a negative attitude toward the US, but this is different. They are correctly objecting to Mr. Bush's unilateral and arrogant stands on the environment, missile defense, and capital punishment.Please don't temper the European opposition to US policies with editorialopinions from the Brookings or Hoover Institutions.US policiespresently being pushed by the Bush administration elicit the same shockabroad as they do here at home. It's just that Europeans are better at organizing protest.

Suzi Smith Canton, Conn.

It is perhaps galling to some Americans who remember the Marshall Plan, and the expensive US buttressing of NATO during the long cold war, that gratitude is so shortlived. One suspects that this badgering stems in part from envy toward America. When we endure criticism for our plans to erect anti-missile defense, it is well to remember that each European country is no less protective of its own sovereign interests and national security than is America. Potential enemies are more likely to target the US than any single European state. That is the price for being the world's leading superpower.

Albert L. Weeks Sarasota, Florida

Thanks from a little guy

It is very gratifying that a person like Daniel McGroarty from the White House Writers Group takes the time in his opinion piece to defend small nations, such as the three Baltic states, and to set the record straight ("Don't forget the Baltic's independent history," July 16).

We appreciate the fact that there are papers like yours willing to print such articles. As a Lithuanian by birth and an American citizen by circumstance, I have returned to the city of my birth after a 45-year absence to teach here and assist my countrymen in any way possible. I am always interested in anything that affects this region of ours, as well as America.

We are glad that there are still people around who are willing to look out for "the little guys." Please continue to support the rights of the small nations!

Irene A. Zemaitaitis Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas, Lithuania

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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