Fred Grandy
Des Moines Register

I found it strange how, when asked about the danger posed by an Iran armed with nuclear ICBMs, none of the Republican candidates noted that U.S. missile defenses are the only thing that protect us from a nuclear holocaust.

Yet Congress is proposing deep defense cuts that would lower our missile defenses as well as other programs critical to our national security. Where are the candidates on this issue?

It seems strange that funding cuts to missile defense could come at a time when the technology finally enjoys wide bipartisan support, from President Obama to House Speaker John Boehner. Decades of tests have proven that the systems can indeed “hit a bullet with a bullet” and are effective defenses against current threats like North Korea’s Taepodong-2 ICBMs.

But if the proposed defense cuts halt missile defense development, North Korea or Iran could surprise us, working with countries like China, Pakistan and Iran to defeat our defenses by adding more sophisticated countermeasures to its ICBMs. Cue a replay of the Cuban missile crisis with Kim Jong-Un or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad instead of Nikita Khrushchev.

City governments don’t pinch pennies by firing their police force. Neither should we balance the budget by dismantling the only physical defense we have against nuclear missiles.