News Release

Arms Experts Warn Against Missile Defense Push

India-Pakistan Nuclear Escalation Deemed No Excuse for New SDI

WASHINGTON — Some arms experts expressed concern today over efforts to revive a new version of the Strategic Defense Initiative promoted during the 1980s by the Reagan administration.

A recent report from the Heritage Foundation following nuclear tests in South Asia declared that President Clinton “should respond immediately by committing the United States to the development of an emergency missile defense program and to early deployment of a global missile defense system.” But a variety of policy analysts said that such “missile defense systems” are dubious at best.

Among those available for interviews are:

ROBERT BOROSAGE
Co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, Borosage noted that many billions of dollars went into failed SDI tests. He said: “Heritage and other right-wing ideologues keep calling for the rapid deployment of a system that has not yet proven it can work. It is hard to imagine a more bizarre way to waste money, and it is truly perverse that a group that claims to be conservative and against government spending would argue for wasting billions more deploying a system that does not work.”

JOHN PIKE
Director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Space Policy Project, Pike said: “Missile defenses are clearly not an effective response to those missile threats that we do face. The nuclear tests by India and Pakistan make it more urgent than ever that we ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and negotiate a global ban on producing materials for nuclear weapons.”

MERAV DATAN and ALYN WARE
Datan, research director for the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, said: “Building missile defense to protect the U.S. against the emergence of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in India, Pakistan or any other state is entirely the wrong approach. It is like using buckets to attempt to catch the water from an overflowing bath rather than turning off the tap.” Executive Director Ware added: “The U.S. should begin multilateral negotiations on complete nuclear disarmament, in line with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Both India and Pakistan have said they would join such negotiations and any resulting non-discriminatory nuclear weapons disarmament treaty.”

For further information, contact Sam Husseini or Theresa Caldwell at the Institute for Public Accuracy, (202) 347-0020.