President Bush recently announced his plan to both deploy the MX missile on vulnerable railroad trains and develop single-warhead Midgetman missiles. These mobile systems have competed for congressional support.
This double-option deal is the worst possible approach -- a non-choice that would cost the American taxpayers up to $50 billion, at a time when the United States needs to reduce its massive budget deficit. The News recently concurred that both missile systems are important in lesser amounts.
Consider that the 10-warhead MX would require four to six hours to dispatch onto the national railroads, an action that could provoke attack. Derailment or collision of trains, caused by accident or sabotage, could release radioactive materials and endanger the environment in nearby communities.
The deploying of 500 Midgetman missiles on trucks would cost at least $32 billion. At a time of massive federal budget deficits, we need to eliminate expensive redundant weapons like the MX and Midgetman.
The United States already has more than 5,000 survivable warheads on bombers and submarines as a hedge against a Soviet first strike. With increasing Soviet willingness to negotiate, the United States should pursue bilateral arms reduction agreements, not add warheads to the arsenal.
JUDITH M. METZGER
JAMES A. METZGER