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U.S. Action Against Kurt Waldheim

May 09, 1987

The charade that led to barring the entry to the United States of President Kurt Waldheim of Austria borders on the incredible. If, indeed, evidence exists that Waldheim is a war criminal, then he should be tried in a competent court, and if found guilty, he should be punished.

But, lacking any real evidence of Waldheim's war crimes, U.S. Attorney Neal Sherb and his boss, Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese, III, have elected to try Waldheim, not in a proper court, but in the world press.

The issue is not Waldheim's guilt or innocence; the issue is our government's willingness to abandon the law and adopt the lynch-mob mentality of certain special interest groups. The world's legal systems aren't perfect, but I prefer them to the alternative.

The Times article (April 28) quoted Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, as saying, "We believe that Mr. Waldheim should not be treated differently than any other accused war criminal." Really? To my knowledge, President Waldheim does not stand accused of war crimes in any court. Officials in the Israeli Justice Ministry, themselves, admit their evidence is so flimsy they cannot charge Waldheim. In fact, the evidence is so insufficient they can't even bar him from entering Israel.

Waldheim is suspected of being a war criminal. Nazis murdered people suspected of being Jews or anti-Nazis. Fair trials were not given to those suspected of such "crimes." We are now engaged in a government-sanctioned character assassination of a suspected war criminal. We might be right. But what if we are wrong? What if he's really innocent? Have we come full circle?

IRWIN W. FISK

Pasadena

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