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A good start for Pentagon cuts: Missile defense

Regarding the June 27 front-page story “GOP opens door to defense cuts”:

An easy target for cuts would be the hugely expensive — and ineffective — missile defense program.

Ted Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and I recently completed a detailed technical study of the proposed missile defense system. Our main conclusion was that the system as planned would “result in an apparent paradox — defenses that will provide little or no actual combat effectiveness, but with technical and quantitative uncertainties that will cause cautious Russian planners to treat them as if they might work.”

Russia (and China) could react by increasing their missile stockpiles and, possibly, by ending or blocking future nuclear arms reductions negotiations with the United States. So not only would the system be expensive and ineffective, it would likely be detrimental to U.S. — and global — security.

It is no secret that the missile defense program is now driven largely by politics rather than true national security concerns. In these times of tight budgets it should be at the top of the list of Pentagon programs to slash.

Y ousaf Mahmood Butt, Cambridge, Mass.

The writer is a consultant to the American Federation of American Scientists.

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