News Release

Missile Defense?

In the aftermath of the congressional vote to deploy a missile defense system — just days before the Russian prime minister is set to arrive in the United States — some analysts are questioning the feasibility, prudence and legality of such a system. Among those available for comment are:

WILLIAM HARTUNG
Senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute and author of “And Weapons for All,” Hartung said: “Missile defense is unworkable, unaffordable and unnecessary. It also runs the risk of sparking a new nuclear arms race. Instead of changing our policies to reflect the end of the Cold War with missile reductions, our government is developing more offensive weapons. Combined with these missile defenses, that looks very threatening to Russia and China. It is very hard for them to interpret this as anything other than provocative. They are compelled to respond by deploying more missiles, so this actually destabilizes and has the opposite effect than the Clinton administration says it wants. The military contractors have been very happy with the administration. This is a testament to the resilience of the military-industrial lobby.”
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WILLIAM WEIDA
Retired Air Force colonel, professor of economics at the Colorado College and author of “Beyond Deterrence: The Political Economy of Nuclear Weapons,” Weida said: “This is a blatant subsidy for defense contractors who don’t have any other major work at this time. Since the consolidation of these companies — Lockheed Martin, Boeing and so on — they are inventing an answer to a threat that doesn’t exist.”

JIM WURST
Program director at the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, Wurst said: “What many proponents of `Star Wars’ are really targeting is arms control, not incoming missiles. Proceeding with a ballistic missile defense system is a direct assault on the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. The Russians don’t want to amend the ABM treaty, they don’t want to abrogate it, they can’t afford to build their own, so their only alternative is to maintain as large a stock of nuclear weapons as possible, which means they will not ratify START II. The expansion of NATO, the bombing of Iraq and so much that the U.S. has done on arms control is sticking it in the eye of the Russians.”

JOHN ISAACS
President of the Council for a Livable World, Isaacs said: “This stakes America’s national security on a system that has failed 14 out of 18 recent tests. The vote starts the U.S. down a slippery slope and, if it becomes law, could lock us into automatic deployment of a national missile defense system, without regard to cost to taxpayers, effectiveness, or impact on relations with our allies. After $120 billion and 40 years, we have been unable to make significant progress in the development of an effective system.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167