Paul  Weyrich

Reid voted for an amendment sponsored by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) on November 8, 2005 to take $50 million from the SDI and place it in nuclear non-proliferation programs. So did Senator Carl M. Levin (D-MI), now Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Levin's 2004-2006 CLW rating is 66%. Leading Presidential contenders Barack Obama (D-IL), the media-promoted "moderate," and the avowedly liberal Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) supported the Reed Amendment. Not all members of their party supported the Reed Amendment. Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Max Baucus (D-MT), Daniel K. Inoyue (D-HI), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), and former Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN), voted against it. Senators Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) and Lincoln D. Chafee (R-RI), who lost reelection last year, supported the Reed Amendment. The vote cannot be characterized as one that broke strictly along party lines. Fortunately, the Reed Amendment was rejected by a large margin.

Can we be so fortunate with a new Congress with a very different outlook?

What will happen if this new Congress decided to scuttle space-based defense programs? What if more legislators are elected in the next elections who harbor similar antipathies to SDI? Or an anti-SDI President is elected next year? The thought is distressing. At worst our country will be caught unprepared to handle the latest challenges of warfare. At least we probably will have lost valuable time that could have been spent perfecting and deploying effective SDI systems such as "Brilliant Pebbles."

When the Communists captured control of China a cry was heard in American politics: "Who lost China?" Now, with countries such as China racing to create new space weapons, the question might one day be asked by Americans, "Who lost space?" The failure of key political leaders, such as Pelosi and Reed, to take seriously SDI increases the odds that one day that question will be asked. Today's science-fiction nightmare soon might become tomorrow's reality. The antidote is simple: an aroused citizenry that demands America's Federal elected officials do their foremost job -- tending to the national security concerns of our country. American know-how won the last space race. In this age where other countries are more capable technologically we cannot become complacent. Better to take the vital preventive steps now - perfecting and deploying SDI - than losing thousands, even millions, of American lives because our politicians left our country unprepared.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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