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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

There Are Bigger Fish Than Pinochet

September 21, 2004

Re "Throw the Book at Pinochet," editorial, Sept. 17: Your call to throw the book at former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet is a classic example of sanctimonious self-righteousness that actually would accomplish the opposite of what you intend. How does putting an ailing, washed-up old man on trial serve the cause of justice? It does completely the opposite. It simply drives home the total fecklessness of the world community to deal with sitting tyrants.

You want to serve justice? Give us your plan for mobilizing the world community's courage and resources to end the murderous reign of ruling tyrants like those in China, Libya, Syria and Turkmenistan, to name just a few. But, please, no more calls for sticking it to old men. You sound like the schoolyard bully. Bravery and sacrifice, not cowardice and self-righteous hypocrisy, are needed if justice is to prevail on this planet.

Tom Barksdale

Woodstock, Ga.

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Better yet, throw the book at Pinochet and Henry Kissinger. Kissinger supplied Pinochet with unmarked machine guns and money to finance the overthrow of the legally elected government of Salvador Allende. The U.S.-installed gangster killed thousands of his people, and Kissinger is equally guilty of the crimes. And by the way, how come the U.S. did not invade Chile to bring back democracy? Didn't we invade Iraq to bring the people democracy?

Clifford Rackohn

Calabasas

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