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YOLK STAMPS 200 West M a ry Austin, Tx. 78704 RUBBER STAMPS CAN LEAVE YOU SPEECHLESS! 10% off with this ad! Store Hours: MonSat 12-6 Write or Phone 442-5161 For Free Catalog! WHILE the Star Wars idea has come under considerable attack since Reagan’s 1983 speech, its main defenders outside the Reagan administration and the Pentagon are the researchers who benefit from SDI. Early in 1984, a report by the congressional Office of Technology Assessment concluded, “The prospect that emerging ‘Star Wars’ technologies, when further developed, will provide a perfect or near-perfect defense system . . . is so remote that it should not serve as the basis of public expectation or national policy.” Shortly after the release of the report, at a Senate subcommittee on Foreign Relations hearing, representatives of the Pentagon acknowledged that, because an SDI system would have to be triggered on very short notice, triggering it might preclude the President’s go-ahead. “Perhaps we should run R2-D2 for President in the 1990s,” remarked Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts. “At least he’d be on line all the time.” Later in 1984, an analysis of the SDI technology published in Scientific American by four members of the Union of Concerned Scientists questioned the feasibility of the project and pointed out that “the reliability of the proposed defense would remain a mystery until the fateful moment at which it was attacked.” This summer, a former Navy scientist who was employed on the “panel on computing in support of battle management” for SDI resigned. The scientist, David L. Parnas, said that the huge “I firmly believe that aca demics are called to engage in this research. The respon sibility of the university is to contribute to the society in which it is embedded.” Charles Smith, UT-Arlington computer system needed to run the space defense could never be tested or, therefore, trusted, and that scientists and engineers have a duty to tell Reagan that it is not possible to invent the technology to render nuclear weapons “impotent and obsolete.” Then, in September of this year, a second congressional Office . of Technology Assessment report said that a leakproof space shield against nuclear missiles was probably not feasible, that an effective defense would require tight restrictions on the number of Soviet offensive missiles, that the current urgent effort to develop the system could threaten “the entire arms control process,” and that development of the defense might make nuclear war more likely. Over the summer, university scientists were quietly gathering signatures on petitions asking Congress to end support for SDI, and, in some cases, pledging to refuse to work under SDI funds and urging colleagues to do the same. “Participants in SDI by individual Cornell researchers would lend Cornell’s name to a program of dubious scientific validity,” one petition read. Physics and computer science faculty are circulating similar petitions at UTAustin this fall. “The scientists and professors that are opposed to SDI have gotten a lot of press,” said William Weldon of the Center for Electromechanics. “What’s not been presented is the support and the involvement of professors and scientists. The people busy working on the project and supporting it don’t seem to be as vocal.” “There are some faculty on this campus that are opposed to the research,” Charles Smith at UT-Arlington said of SDI work. “I firmly believe that academics are called to engage in this research. The responsibility of the university is to contribute to the society in which it is embedded. Our President has asked us to look at this, so it is fully justified to look at it, using the gifts God has given us. I don’t think it’s a request that you can avoid. You contribute, or sit to the sidelines and contribute in a negative way.” “We don’t design SDI guns,” Weldon said. “We design the technology that supports them.” “I object to taking a technological field and then saying that’s SDI research,” Chancellor Hans Mark said. “The rail gun has a lot of applications. The money [to do research on it] has been coming from the U.S. Army for some years. The Army application has been a long-standing one. . . . The world is more complicated than you think.” “Even if we could do SDI and SDI could be successful, we’re going to expend a tre mendous amount of the time and treasure of our society.” Charles Smith “The problem is not with technology,” Charles Smith said. “Technology just provides the means. Politics is the will. Some 40 years ago, academics invented nuclear weapons. Let me point out that there has not been any global warfare in these 40 years. . . . The two superpowers have an excess of nuclear capability and have implemented a political strategy of deterrence. If any failure occurs, we have the potential for catastrophic failure. What Reagan is trying to address is: is there a technological solution to get out of this political box? . . . The science of it has matured so it is reasonable to look at the prospect of defense against a missile with a nuclear weapon.” “The problem we face,” Smith said, “is that there is a lot of concern of the moral issues. Should academics be engaged in any research that may be directed toward devices that may be used to kill human beings? . . . Even if we could do SDI and SDI could be successful, we’re going to expend a tremendous amount of the time and treasure of our society are there more worthwhile projects? “I don’t have the answers,” Smith said. 12 NOVEMBER 8, 1985