You have written lead editorials (Oct. 13 and 15) commending the U.S. government for its actions in the Achille Lauro hijacking, in particular the apprehension of the terrorists. The editorials may have a point, but the emphasis is misplaced.
Fortunately, your editorials have been placed in more proper balance by several good articles on the Op-Ed Page dealing with Mideast issues in more depth.
Police actions abroad and at home may be necessary. But they are not praiseworthy. They are merely a stopgap that indicates failure in dealing with the causes of criminal action.
Israel, of course, has a right to exist. But so do the Arabs. Unless we deal with the fundamental causes of crime we do little good in merely commending the police force. Get rid of poverty, drugs, discrimination, on the one hand, and provide jobs and housing on the other hand and we have something going for stability. In the Middle East get rid of refugee camps, landless people, poverty, discrimination, hatred, on the one hand, and provide homelands, jobs, respect, recognition, and you begin to deal with the spinoffs of violence that now beset this area.
It is not a matter of either-or, but of putting first things first in terms of a long-run ultimately productive effort at putting in place the foundation blocks of good will.
EUGENE A. HESSEL