offensive purposes. An example of the first is a defender’s use of an offensive weapon to destroy an incoming offensive weapon—in this case, the defender uses its offensive weapon to prevent or reduce the death and destruction that the attacker’s offensive weapon would otherwise cause. An example of the second is the use of a defensive system to protect an attacker that has launched a first strike—in this case, the attacker’s possession of a defensive system enables the attacker to attack without fear of retaliation, thus increasing the likelihood that it will in fact attack. In short, the distinction between the two categories often fails in practice.

It should be stressed here that the responses to the various arguments outlined above are not intended to dismiss out of hand any of the frequently heard arguments. That is, all of the frequently heard arguments described above sometimes have at least a grain of truth that may be worth considering. At the same time, those grains of truth should not be amplified to the point that they render discussion of ELSI considerations illegitimate—the short responses to the frequently heard arguments are intended essentially as points of departure for further dialogue.

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