Charles Colson's argument for a strategic-defense system seems to suggest that American Christians have two choices: support national missile defense (NMD) or support Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)—the policy of nuclear proliferation during the Cold War. No other alternatives are mentioned. Yet for followers of Jesus, there are alternatives to violence and force.Colson, along with many others, bases his argument for NMD on Augustine's just-war theory, defending just-war principles because they have "historically informed Western thought." But historical longevity is no more valid an argument for war than it was for slavery or oppressing women. A careful study of wars in our nation's history shows that, in many cases, just-war theory has simply validated using war to achieve merely political ends, despite the resultant horrors.It clearly is right for us to condemn the insanity of MAD. Nevertheless, national missile defense has its own problems. For instance, building such a defense would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, thus angering allies and enemies alike. It would likely revive the arms race. What is more, it would be an enormous drain on our country's financial resources—resources desperately needed for addressing poverty, education, and healthcare.According to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the price for an NMD system would range anywhere from $30 billion to $60 billion by 2015, depending on the scale of the system. Furthermore, NMD might not work, judging by the failed tests conducted by the Pentagon, and would require constant expensive updating to counteract new technologies.Finally, there is little likelihood that NMD would ever ...1
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