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Waldheim's Nazi Past

February 26, 1988

The report has been completed and it states flatly that Austrian President Kurt Waldheim had no power and took no action against civilians in the Balkans (Part I, Feb. 9). Still his detractors insist that he is guilty and demand that he resign as head of Austria.

Now we seem to have guilt established by press, innuendo, and casual conversation. To repeat that Waldheim is guilty often enough will therefore result in his being declared guilty.

Shades of Joe McCarthy who was famous for saying, "I hold in my hand . . ." the evidence that was never released. As was the evidence never released some months ago which was to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt Waldheim's guilt.

What are Waldheim's detractors suggesting that he should have done? Perhaps put in for a transfer to his commander and tell his commander off? I remind readers that this was World War II and Austria was an occupied country and Waldheim was Austrian. Does being in the German Army make one forever ineligible for public service?

We should remind ourselves that the U.S. sent airplanes with atomic bombs that wiped out hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Does that mean that every member of our air force in World War II should be outlawed from participating in public affairs?

My suggestion is that Waldheim's detractors reacquaint themselves with the New Testament of the Bible. They should read the chapters about reconciliation and forgiveness of one's enemies.

HELEN GIFILLAN FARRELL

Long Beach

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