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Vice president and spokesperson

Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum

Silver Spring

Trusting and verifying

Frank J. Gaffney Jr.’s “The genie-stuffers” (Commentary, Tuesday) is right that nuclear weaponry and strategic deterrence no longer receive the serious national deliberation they should. Mr. Gaffney’s call for a national debate is doubly important because he is wrong about everything else.

There is no greater threat to our system of government and way of life than the expansion of the Hiroshima equation to one bomb equals one terrorist equals one city. If the late President Reagan could say to trust but verify when standing toe to toe with Soviet communists, why can’t we say the same to our friends today when the political and technical possibilities to block threats to our cities are so much greater? We should be doing everything we can to extend and exploit this happy moment when only governments with cities to protect and diplomats to debate have nuclear weapons, or its passing may go hard by us.

If the future of the American experiment isn’t reason enough, nuclear weapons are expensive and dangerous right here at home. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis estimates that U.S. taxpayers paid $54 billion for nuclear weapons programs this year. One hundred four thousand claims have been filed, and more than $2.6 billion has been paid for compensation for health consequences of nuclear weapons production to American workers. Yet we have taken the size and posture of the arsenal for granted for years.

With such Soviet dupes as Mr. Reagan and one-worlders as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the record in favor of prudent and careful pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons, name-calling is not enough ignoring the genie will not make it go away. We urgently need a national debate on the future of U.S. nuclear weapons policy worthy of the stakes.

DOUGLAS B. SHAW

Director of security programs

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Washington

Fire bugs on the border

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