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'Tragedy in Persian Gulf'

May 24, 1987

The Times editorial (May 19), "Tragedy in Persian Gulf," states that "Iraq owes the United States a speedy and complete explanation of the deadly missile attack . . . on the American frigate Stark." The editorial also goes on to say that ". . . the Persian Gulf is a de facto war zone and American ships operate there at risk."

If the risk is so great, my question is why are we there snooping around in the first place? Our busybody Navy was also snooping around the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 2, 1964. The destroyer Maddox was reported to have been attacked by the North Vietnamese. The result was a response without proof, and the rest is history--full commitment of our military personnel to a nine-year wasted war. To cap off the situation, the incident at the Tonkin Gulf now seems to have been caused by freaky weather and a malfunctioning radar system.

For the security of all American military personnel, it behooves us to pull our Navy out of the Persian Gulf or we may be faced with another Gulf of Tonkin. Can we afford the consequences?

GERALD P. LUNDERVILLE

Long Beach

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