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'Containment, Then and Now'

January 22, 1986

Mark Wylie's letter (Jan. 12), "Containment, Then and Now," is a classic reflection of the ostrich syndrome i.e., when it's convenient, bury your head in the sand so you won't have to face reality.

In his letter, Wylie inferred that George Kennan deserved a punch in the nose for having the audacity to suggest in his article (Opinion, Dec. 29) that the United States has in the past conducted its foreign policy in ways similar to those of the Soviet Union. It is truly regretful that Wylie, like so many other Americans, chooses to ignore the enormous amounts of human suffering that have resulted from our government's determination to impose its will on other governments and other people.

Evidently Wylie has decided that the atrocities of the Vietnam War never occurred. Unfortunately, too many of us have vivid memories of small children engulfed in flames from napalm dropped from U.S. planes; and the My Lai massacre.

Apparently he also chooses to pretend that we had no involvement in overthrowing duly elected governments in Chile and Guatemala, which resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives; or maybe he would excuse it by saying that what we did was for their own good.

And what about the Salvadoran death squads who were responsible for terrorizing and murdering innocent people with our arms and tacit support? No doubt that can also be people excused away under the guise of fighting communism.

Then there is our support for a gang of thugs and mercenaries, many of whom spent most of their days under Anastasio Somoza terrorizing the population in Nicaragua in order to perpetuate his brutal and corrupt dictatorship; now we supply them with more arms so they can continue to do what they do best, terrorize and kill; and we even provide them with manuals to make certain they perform their work in the most efficient manner. And I could go on and on.

The point of it all is that regardless who commits the crimes, they are all crimes against God and humanity and they perpetuate the never-ending cycle of violence that dehumanizes all of mankind. It accomplishes nothing to continually point an accusing finger at the Russians while we continue to emulate them in so many ways.

If we really want to put an end to world terrorism, we must begin by acknowledging our own contributions to it; then and only then will we be able to begin working effectively toward its containment and eventually its elimination.

ROBERT A. McKENNON

Hacienda Heights

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