During most of Reagan's terms I was a physicist at NASA. I was almost certainly the only conservative in our division, and definitely the only one who would speak up. The disdain for Reagan in all things was palpable, but there was something about SDI which brought out a special loathing. I had the impression we were talking past each other, but couldn't put my finger on it. Over lunch one day, I asked someone why they thought Reagan was pushing SDI. The response was that he thought he could create an impenetrable shield and then destroy the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons. I waited in vain for someone to laugh. I asked if there was someone who thought that was absurd. The response was a table full of blank faces; they all took that for a given. I am fairly certain, though not from personal experience, this was also the driving force for the Nuclear Winter scenarios which were promulgated about that time.Somewhere the Gipper is smiling, and at least a few of us are grateful.
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