Recent stories have revealed how shoddy work and fraud have disarmed MX missiles that Northrup produced and sold to the government. This case begs for contrast with peace workers who have tried for a similar end.

I suspect that defense industry executives and employees who disarm nuclear weapons by faulty construction or testing do so because of greed, incompetence or cowardice. When caught they deny the facts and their responsibility, and after investigation they can expect soon to be awarded another contract. Their status as experts, patriots and defenders of the nation remains unchanged, and they are permitted to use tax dollars to continue to advertise their message to their victims, the citizens and taxpayers of the United States.

In contrast, the Plowshares peace activists who disarm nuclear weapons by hammering on them and pouring blood on them have different motives and consequences. They act because of what they perceive to be duty to God and love of America, for the defense of their country and the preservation of physical and ethical life by removal of threats common to both. Financial gain is neither expected nor received. After their acts, they remain on site and openly wait for apprehension. During trial, they do not deny facts or responsibility, but try to explain both as fully as possible. Courts usually do not want to hear them or their expert witnesses and routinely sentence them to two to 17 years in a federal penitentiary.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. ARTHUR MILHOLLAND Baltimore Physicians for Social Responsibility Baltimore

I want to express my anger over the actions of some protesters at the Air and Space Museum on Dec. 29 who dumped a bloodlike substance on a missile exhibit. While I do not condemn their protests of nuclear war, I do condemn their methods of expressing their opinions. Dumping "blood" or defacing any exhibit in any museum is, in my opinion, repulsive. Although a Minuteman missile is not an object of art, it does serve as an example of what can cause the Earth's destruction. Nuclear war is perhaps the most horrific thing known to man. People should be able to see it, without the object that represents it being defaced. Would someone deface a piece of art because it contained nudity? I should hope not. Why? Because some of the world's greatest paintings and sculptures contain nudity.

People should use their good judgment before expressing any opinion, good or bad. Sure, I think nuclear war is terrible; however, people should be able to see what can cause incomprehensible pain and destruction, without others having defaced it while expressing their beliefs. JAMES L. MANDELBLATT Rockville