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Protests Against Gulf Actions

December 27, 1990

In your article on the Kuwaiti campaign for American hearts and minds (Dec. 20), the Kuwait-American Friendship Council is quoted as accusing the anti-war movement of hypocrisy. "Why, they asked, aren't anti-war activists calling on Hussein to withdraw his troops? Why aren't they denouncing the atrocities?"

In fact, anti-war activists condemn Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait. However just their cause, the people of Kuwait do not have an automatic claim on the lives of the young Americans who would die in the event of a war against Iraq.

It will be particularly tragic if Americans are killed by Iraqi weapons, which were financed by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Many who oppose U.S. military intervention in the Middle East in the past spoke out against the Administration's aid to Iraq during its war with Iran. We knew that Hussein was a tyrant at a time when the Kuwaitis and Saudis praised--and subsidized--him as defender of the Arab Nation.

The Iraqi military, strong as it is, does not pose a threat to the continental United States. The potential benefits to America from defending Saudi Arabia or liberating Kuwait are far outweighed by the cost in taxes and human lives. It is simple prudence, not hypocrisy, to be concerned about those costs.

GENE BERKMAN

Riverside

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