I read with interest Kathleen Hendrix's article on the Beyond War group ("Beyond War: Movement Takes Disarming Approach to World Tensions," Sept. 15). At one point, she raised the question: Are these people for real?
The feeling of unreality was one I had one day as I listened to a presentation by two of the group. I could not believe they had been paying attention to the real world for a long time. Their answers to the few permitted questions were vague and noncommittal. Answers to questions about their source of funds were equally vague and mysterious. When asked if they had read books by experts on Soviet-American relationships, they admitted having no knowledge of them. Afghanistan, the KGB, Sakarov, the attempted assassination of the Pope appeared irrelevant to them.
They also seemed to be poorly informed about the period before World War II when the pacifists of that time were appeasing Hitler while he marched and enslaved. Also uninformed about the fact that the nations of Europe were unable to defend themselves because they were militarily unprepared and misjudged the aggressors. People who lived through that period and learned from it recognize the importance of negotiating from strength, not weakness. We also learned you can't buy "peace in our time" for the price can be the enslavement of present and future generations.