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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Historical Parallels of War and Conquest

October 11, 2003

Re "A Role Model for Rape, Pillage, Plunder," Commentary, Oct. 6: To summarize Crispin Sartwell's eighth-grade essay on Hernando de Soto: He was treated as a hero in his own country. He led an expedition to invade another country and civilization based on unsubstantiated rumors of what he would find.

The country was primitively armed relative to the state-of-the-art weapons his smaller but more effective warriors carried. He unleashed his war dogs, defeated the country, hunted down and killed or imprisoned its leaders, seized control of its resources, had himself and his deputies appointed as governors to run the country, kept searching in vain for the rumored prize of his invasion and conquest, ultimately failed and now can only look to revisionist history. Some 460 years later, it's deja vu all over again.

Don Parris

Los Angeles

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