Defensive About Defense

Reagan's call for a greater buildup is met by one for a fix-up

The President's speech had all the trappings of a major offensive, but in fact he was fighting a rearguard defense. When Ronald Reagan took to the airwaves last week to beseech the nation to continue backing his massive defense buildup, the rumbles of discord threatened to drown out his ardent pleas and shift the public attention from funding the Pentagon to reforming it.

All those horror stories of waste by the Pentagon and fraud by defense contractors--the $400 hammers, the $600 toilet covers--have taken a toll on the national consensus for reversing what Reagan has called the "decade of neglect" that...

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