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'Shooting Gallery'

October 18, 1987

Your editorial response ("Shooting Gallery," Oct. 8) to the latest Soviet outrage is typical of commentators enthralled with arms control fever.

The Soviet missile that was quite unnecessarily dropped within a few hundred miles of Hawaii was obviously not a straightforward missile test--it was rather a test of the quality of the West's response to Soviet initiatives.

The responses the Soviets receive these days are almost universally of the type that your wimpy editorial represents. Condemning the Soviets for being "unwise?" Give me a break. If the Soviets gave a damn about what the Los Angeles Times considers unwise, they would (I hope) abandon communist tyranny and embrace democracy and individual rights on the spot!

No, your editorial represents exactly the kind of response that the Soviets hope for--empty words. For instance, you propose no change in selling taxpayer-subsidized grain to them, purchases that are financed with taxpayer-subsidized loans--loans that are guaranteed by the taxpayer in the event of default. You certainly do not propose any economic sanctions--though I can imagine your response if South Africa had fired that missile.

The values of the West and of the United States will not be defended or promoted by empty words. What is needed is a clear plan to fight tyranny everywhere. We can begin by starting with the minimum rule--that we will not help them.

CLIFFORD STYLES

Culver City

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