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Strategic Weapons: December 28, 2001
   
President Bush's decision to pull the US out of the ABM treaty was largely political. None of the systems being tested would violate the treaty, and nothing that violates it could be deployed before the 2004 elections in any case. Advocates of arms control decried the move, but opponents noted that three decades of arms control had little practical effect. It was deterrence, they insist, not treaties, that kept the world safe. The Soviets built a vast arsenal under the existing treaties, which most experts agree, they violated constantly. In a related event, Boeing's three-stage booster for the intercept-kill vehicle failed again on 13 Dec. The booster program is two years behind schedule and shows no sign of working.--Stephen V Cole