Skip to Main Content
By the time you read these words, the United States Senate, after a spring filled with much preliminary debate, probably will have settled the latest round in the unprecedentedly acrimonious national controversy over the antiballistic missile. The Senate must decide on the Nixon Administration's request for $800 million this fiscal year with which to begin deploying an ABM system named Safeguard. Its decision will not end the debate. Like most previous decisions in the difficult arena of national securityÂ¿ whether made by Congress, the Defense Department, or the PresidentÂ¿this one too will leave the losers alive and determined to fight on. Whether the nuclear war, that sane men on all sides of this continuing controversy hope to avoid, would leave even the winners in such relatively satisfactory shape is a moot point. But it goes to the heart of the controversy. Because this question of ``Who and what would survive a nuclear war?'' has remained unanswerable to such untutored minds as mine since the end of World War II, until rather recently I, like most of you, no doubt, paid only passing attention to the great ABM debate.