Writing critically about something you have come to regard with affection must provoke mixed emotions. As I learned more and more about the modern battleship's shortcomings, I found myself, like so many before me, falling under its spell. I have traveled hundreds of miles to visit these wonderful ships, reverently preserved like a necklace of talismans around our nation's coasts. I have stood in awe under the great guns, wondering what it must have been like to hear them fire. Perhaps it is true that their sound and fury signified very little in terms of actual destructive power. But most people thought they did, and that was and still is important. Besides, for the most part, we were proud of those ships. Now we live in a time of weapons so terrible that we must actually hide them-beneath the ground and below the surface of the sea. But, like battleships, they keep the peace precisely because of what others think they can do. All things being equal, who would not prefer the dreadnoughts?