Perhaps Charles Krauthammer would like to retract some of his statements in his Sept. 9 op-ed column, "A Test Ban That Disarms Us." Since its publication, North Korea has pledged to forgo any further missile tests in hopes of lifting some economic sanctions, proving that even "rogue" nations can set aside their weapons programs in favor of economic interests. Ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by the United States, with Russia and China likely to follow, would put enormous pressure on North Korea not to test. As any seismologist would agree, it is difficult to conduct a secret nuclear explosion.

Mr. Krauthammer also claimed that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is "most in need of testing." However, even the directors of U.S. weapons labs have stated that they can maintain our nuclear deterrent without testing.

Opponents of the Chemical Weapons Convention, including Mr. Krauthammer, made similar arguments prior to Senate ratification. Yet history proved them wrong when China, Cuba, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Sudan all signed and ratified it.

Mr. Krauthammer did get one thing right: The real goal of many of the treaty's advocates is further disarmament. With Russia pushing for cuts below 1,500 warheads, the United States has no reason to waste tax dollars to maintain 6,000 nuclear warheads. Why should the rest of us have to pay for Mr. Krauthammer's $35-billion-a-year habit?

MARIE RIETMANN

Washington

The writer is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty coordinator for 20/20 Vision.