Editor's note: These man-on-the-street interviews were conducted Monday, prior to Tuesday's terrorist attacks. Though the terrorist perpetrators remain unidentified, Tuesday's attacks will likely silence recent talk about reducing defense spending. It is imperative, therefore, to ask the following question: How would Star Wars have prevented four commercial U.S. airliners from being hijacked and crashed into three of this country's most recognized landmarks?
- Denise Chambers
Hood: Fillmore and Wood Ave.
Who or what is the biggest threat to the U.S.? The Third World countries with access to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons whose wacked-out leaders claim to act in God's name.
Do we spend too much or too little on defense? Under Clinton, we spent too little. Under Bush, we're spending too much.
Should any local military installations be closed? I'm a graduate of the Air Force Academy and think it should remain open no matter what. However, Peterson, NORAD and Shriever have similar missions, so maybe there could be some consolidation there.
Should Star Wars be dumped? With the Soviet Union no longer intact, Star Wars is probably overkill.
- Zach David
Trail worker & student
Hood: Near North End
Do we spend too much or too little on defense? Way too much. We'd be a lot better off forming alliances and building trust than we would on building bigger and better walls. It worries me that my generation knows nothing about what it means to be at war.
Should we dump Star Wars or dump more money into it? It's not in the best interests of human beings sharing this planet to escalate war into outer space.
- Grant Phillips
Who is our biggest threat? It's a toss-up between China and North Korea. China hates our guts and Kim Jong-Il is the only person on the planet crazy enough to believe that a nuclear exchange is survivable.
Do we spend too much or too little on defense? It's less that we spend too much than that we spend it in the wrong places.
What local military installation is ripest for closure? We could probably do easiest without Peterson.
- Shannon Solomon
Hood: Near North End
Who is our biggest threat? We're our own biggest threat. We're tearing our country up, making parking lots out of forests.
Which of the area's five military installations is ripest for closure? I'd close everything but the Air Force Academy. I was in the Army for three years and everything I saw was a huge waste of taxpayer money.
- Robert Shoop
Attorney & professor
Hood: West Side
Who or what is the biggest threat to the U.S.? Terrorism. And North Korea because it's an irresponsible rogue state.
Do we spend too much or too little on defense? About the right amount, but we need to appropriate it better.
Should we dump Star Wars or fund it more heavily? We should at least continue the research.