Proposed by President Reagan thirty-two years ago today, the Strategic Defense Initiative (a k a “Star Wars”) was widely derided by critics as either unwise or impossible. In “The Real Meaning of Star Wars” (March 9, 1985), the great English historian and anti-nuke activist E.P. Thompson wrote that it was also immoral.

There will never be an impermeable shield against nuclear evil. There is—and there has been for forty years—only one shield against chaos: that pitifully weak and yet somehow indestructible shield of the human conscience. It is as full of holes as a sieve, but it has held off chaos for forty years. It is time to put it in repair.

March 23, 1983

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