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Is the strategic ''triad'' obsolete? In its rush to beef up defenses, the United States may be foolishly hanging on to a nuclear weapons strategy that is no longer valid. A two-year study conducted by defense experts for the Aspen Institute recommends the US abandon reliance on land-based missiles and invest more heavily in atomic submarines and bombers armed with cruise missiles.

At a time when a lot of people are pushing for the MX land-based missile, these arguments won't be popular at the White House. But they deserve a thoughtful hearing and debate. What a folly it would be to build a multibillion-dollar MX system still vulnerable to Soviet attack.

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