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The debate over SDI

Robert H. Kupperman and Andrew Goldberg are correct in arguing that SDI is defeatable [``The promise of SDI: `MAD' by other means,'' March 3]. But SDI is only one version of strategic defense. There are good reasons to acquire a strategic defense other than SDI. Strategic defenses could save millions of lives, could protect America from mistaken launches and new nuclear enemies, and could give the Soviet Union less say over whether the United States will survive. Strategic defense could so complicate Soviet first strike plans as to reduce and perhaps eliminate the threat, rendering less useful intercontinental ballistic missiles (the only weapons suitable for a first strike), reducing the chance of war, and making arms negotiations easier. Scott Kirkman Columbus, Ohio

The article on star wars is an unfortunate demonstration of the extent to which President Reagan has been able to establish the parameters for debate on our country's policies [`` `Star wars' and arms control,'' Feb. 6]. The writer presents three points of view: the hardliners', the moderates', and Moscow's. Are liberals who believe that SDI is an expensive and dangerous boondoggle to be denied a role in the national foreign policy debate? The implication that those of us who oppose the extreme policies of the Reagan administration are pawns of Moscow suggests another era in our country that I hope will not be repeated. Lisa Cox Brattleboro, Vt. Peace Corps

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I object to the assertion that the heyday of the Peace Corps was two decades ago [``The Peace Corps's future,'' March 4]. Although the current 6,000 volunteers are fewer than the 15,000 of 1967, the heyday is today. Never before has the educational level of those invited to a training program been higher or the training in language, culture, and technical skills better. Thanks to greater planning and thinking through of programs, volunteers around the world are doing a much more professional job than in the ``wind 'em up and wing it'' days of the '60s.

The irony is the underexposure both in the press and Congress of the Peace Corps and the huge return on a tiny investment currently being paid to the third world and America. Brian Williams Boston

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address to ``readers write.''

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