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European, U.S. Reaction to Raid on Libya

April 27, 1986

Many of the letters you received were so violently anti-French that a rebuttal is in order. Let us remember that when the French--and the British--had their problems with Egypt's Gamal Nasser in the 1950s. They resorted to force. They invaded Suez--and we pulled the rug right out from under them!

President Eisenhower's acquiescence--if not support--at that time would have changed the course of history in the Middle East!

Last Sunday's letters also reflected a myth that the United States entered World War II to liberate Europe from Nazi oppression. Nonsense! When Hitler marched into Paris, the overwhelming sentiment in this country was one of strict neutrality. Eighteen months later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and there was a strong feeling to concentrate on the Pacific and "let Europe stew in its own juice." It was a dilemma Hitler resolved by declaring war on us three days later.

The French are an ancient and proud people who--in this century--fought two world wars, which left them physically and emotionally devastated. And they lost an empire. Such trauma rarely produces gratitude!

PETER SIMMEL

Culver City

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