ized group, including Pentagon chiefs,nmust remain open to the scrutiny of ancitizenry that should be wellinformed.nUnfortunately, the average Americannthinks less about the defense of thenUnited States than he does about, say,nthe fate of the United States FootballnLeague. Thus, in this country at least,nthe many issues related to atomic warnare rarely debated seriously in anythingnlike a public forum—even atnelection time. Our average citizen willnnever oppose “High Frontier,” for he isnquite content to let the President, thenJoint Chiefs, and those guys in thensilos in South Dakota worry about allnthose bombs and stuff.nIndeed, a strong case could be madenthat nuclear weapons are largely responsiblenfor the decline in the West ofnour traditionally valued military virtues.nIt is hard for many Americansnand NATO soldiers to take their rolesnvery seriously when they know thatnultimately the defense of their countryndepends less on their gallantry than onnunseen technicians who sit behindncomputer screens in air-conditionednbunkers. Certainly, the “nuclear umbrella”nheld open by Uncle Sam continuesnto allow our rather well-off Europeannallies to spend relatively littlenfor their own defense, to channel considerablentax revenues on a whole hostnof often questionable social welfarenschemes.nNuclear weapons are also largelynresponsible, I think, for the more pronouncednsymptoms of cultural decadencenthat Professor Hawkins understandablynscores. For obviously thenvery presence of these apocalyptic armamentsnhas done little to encouragena reverence for permanence and tradition,nand much to encourage the notionnthat we might as well live in thenfast lane for tomorrow we might allnfind ourselves vaporized.nA space-based anhballistic systemnmakes sense if we intend to use it as anpossible means of intercepting accidentallynlaunched ICBM’s; it makesnabsolutely no sense if we plan to use itnas a protective shield beneath whichnwe can wage a “victorious” nuclearnwar. For as Hawkins admits, “therencan never be a perfect defense,” and innthe event of a nuclear war an imperfectndefense will mean millions of deadnAmericans and survivors who are notnlikely to derive comfort from knowingnthat the Iron Curtain countriesn— though smoking and radiating—nare, at long last, free. Nuclear bombsnhave absolutely no military value exceptnas instruments of deterrence. AsnPresident Reagan has insisted, thesenweapons must never be used and, asnsoon as possible, must be eliminatednfrom the face of the earth. ccnBrian Murray is professor of Englishnat Youngstown State University.nProfessor HawkinsnReplies:nIt was certainly not my intention tontrivialize the impact of a nuclear war.nClearly, such a war would produce anlevel of death and destruction surpassingnany previous conflict. The U.S.,nisolated by geography from both previousnworld wars, has nothing in itsnhistory of a comparable nature. ThenU.S.S.R. has the experience of WorldnWar II on which to draw—a warnduring which large tracts of Sovietnterritory were occupied or devastatednand 25 million people died. However,ncontrary to the cliche about how thenexperience has made the Russian peoplenpeace-loving, the experience hasnhkely hardened the Kremlin in itsnmilitarism. After all, the Soviet leadershipnsurvived World War II intact. Itncame out of the war stronger politicallynthan when it went in. It conquerednhalf of Europe and emerged as one ofnonly two Superpowers. Another war, ifncasualties could be kept at the samenratio to population and, more importantly,nif the Soviet leadership felt itncould again survive, would give thenSoviets control of the rest of Europenand a monopoly on Superpower statusnwith global hegemony—a fair definitionnof victory from the Kremlin’snperspective.nDeterrence must depend, then, notnjust on the specter of killing millions ofnRussian civilians. The Soviet leadershipnhas killed millions of its ownncivilians without qualm. It must dependnon the ability of the U.S. tondefeat the U.S.S.R. in battle. ThenSoviets are cold-blooded and ruthless,nbut they are not suicidal. They will notnnnstart a war they know they will lose.nThe U.S. needs what Colin Gray hasnadvocated as “a theory of victory” for anpotential war with the U.S.S.R. innorder to maintain a credible deterrentnand to prevail should deterrence fail.nTo implement such a theory requiresnboth new offensive and defensivenweapon systems.nMurray’s gravest error is in regard tonthe effectiveness of the Strategic DefensenInitiahve (SDI). The 60 percentnfigure he cites is from Tsipis, whonbegrudgingly admitted that even thenold ABM system of the early 1970’sncould have been this effective. ThenSDI is expected to be much better,nespecially if deployed in depth. Ofncourse, no system is 100 percent effectivenand the disarmament crowd hasnattempted to set perfection as the minimumnrequirement, knowing that suchna standard would doom any system.nBut this is nonsense.nIt is the Soviets who require nearnperfection. A first-strike must knocknout most U.S. retaliatory forces or it isnpointless. A defense system which canndestroy 90 percent of the attack forcenwould make such an attack impossiblento plan with sufficient confidence tonlaunch. Planners would not be able, tonpredict which 10 percent of their strikenforce would make it, thus they wouldnhave no idea what targets they couldndestroy. Even much lower rates ofneffectiveness would defeat a first-strikenplan. It should be noted that the Sovietncounterforce posture is a form of antimissilendefense. They plan to knocknour missiles out on the ground, wenplan to knock theirs out in space. Thenintended result is the same: to preventnsuccessful attacks on the homeland.nThe SDI does represent a continuationnof the arms race, but an offensivedefensivenrace which is preferable to anpurely offensive race which favors thenaggressor.nIt hardly helps to engage in scarentactics based on misinformation. Murraynseems to think both Superpowersnhave 50-megaton (MT) warheads onntheir ICBM’s. Where he got this datanis unknown. It is completely false. ThenMIRV warheads on our MinutemannICBM’s are either 175 or 350 kilotonsn(KT). The MX warheads will also ben350-KT or .007 of Murray’s figure!nSubmarine-launched missiles are evennsmaller, being only 40-KT, The greatnJUNE 1985/39n