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Pinochet's Regime

March 07, 1993

In response to "Pinochet Medal Sparks Dispute Across Border," Feb. 26:

William Long's article on (former Chilean president) Gen. Augusto Pinochet was informative and clear until its last paragraph. Is his evasive conclusion what passes for journalistic "objectivity" these days?

Does Long expect "historical distance" to moderate Pinochet's brutal murders of thousands of his countrymen because Chile was in decent economic shape when he was voted out of power?

Do we then soften our historical judgment on Adolph Hitler because he brought Germany out of the 1930s depression? Mussolini because under his dictatorship the Italian trains ran on time? Stalin because unemployment disappeared under Soviet totalitarianism?

Long seems to expect us to believe that good economic news somehow "balances" the atrocities of mass murder by governments. That the Chilean and Argentine generals believe this is not surprising. But The Times?

BENNETT BERGER, Del Mar

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