Regarding Scott Ritter's Jan. 4 Opinion piece, "Rude Awakening to Missile Defense Dream": Mr. Ritter's primary reason for opposing continuing development of a "national" missile defense is that such defense wouldn't be effective against Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) like the SS-27 Topol-M.
It has been widely publicized that the long-range missile defense system now being prepared for initial operation is not designed to threaten either the Russian or Chinese strategic deterrent forces.
The small number of long-range interceptors to be deployed by the US are designed to protect our nation from an ICBM of the type now being developed by North Korea and Iran - missiles that could also proliferate to other nations in the future which, when equipped with a nuclear warhead or other weapon of mass destruction, could threaten the lives of perhaps millions of Americans.
Also, the US missile defense program is much more than the deployment of long-range interceptors: the bulk of our development and testing efforts involve systems to intercept and destroy shorter range ballistic missiles that threaten our deployed forces overseas as well as our friends and allies.
US Missile Defense Agency
Scott Ritter has a totally valid point that the current hardware approach to anti-ICBMs is off track. However, my education about diplomacy leads me to believe that verbal diplomacy is also a dead-end approach.
As my international law professor pointed out, he who holds the weapon has the upper hand in international diplomacy. Only perceived equals can/will negotiate.
Regarding the Dec. 29 article "Commerce in church: faith-based enterprise or unholy invasion?" As a minister, I understand the need to have financial help within the church. The churches have taken a step toward that goal, but having business within the halls of the church is just blatantly wrong - as the biblical book of Matthew states in chapter 21, verses 12 and 13.
The spirituality within the community and country is growing, but we must be careful as to how it grows. How is the congregation supposed to find spirituality and trust in the church when they have thrown the Scripture away for their own means? What are you teaching the children? Follow the Scripture as long as it doesn't get in the way of the almighty dollar?
Are we now throwing away the scripture that doesn't appeal to us? Wrong is wrong, and the church is not exempt from this. Do not give the people a reason to turn their backs on what is right. If the church cannot do what is right, why should you expect your congregation to do so?
Regarding the Dec. 31 article "A battle over sale of violent video games": When did the responsibility of raising kids venture outside of the family? We look to the government and the media to set guidelines and restrictions for our kids and ourselves.
I am completely disgusted with this nation of "pass the buck." I've seen time and time again that when a parent gets tired of dealing with their child, they plop them in front of the TV. Parents, it's time to take responsibility for your kids. If you can have a child, you have the responsibility to raise them. If something goes wrong with the child, you cannot pass the blame.
Cocoa Beach, Fla.
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