Terrorists and their accountability

From the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis through the recent terrorist acts in Lebanon, US administrations have used such justifiable statements as ``These countries will be held accountable,'' ``grave consequences,'' ``will be punished!'' What punishment? Last year the United States purchased over $400 million worth of oil from Iran just one year after an Iranian-directed truck bomb killed 241 Americans in Beirut! A trade embargo should have been imposed and could have been an excellent deterrent against fu ture terrorist acts, including the recent skyjacking in Lebanon. Robert Reinauer Bainbridge Island, Wash. The July 26 editorial (``The Beirut 7'') states that ``Perhaps when all the Shiite prisoners held by Israel are finally let go some movement will occur . . . .'' By making this statement, the Monitor brings up a demand which the terrorists did not make. Some hostages were kidnapped long before any Shiites were held in Israel. Some are held by unidentified groups which to this day have not made any demands. The state philosophy of at least one of these organizations, the ``Hizbullah'' (Party

of God), is the elimination from Lebanon of all American, French, and British institutions, which, to them, will be the first step toward eliminating Western culture in the Middle East. The kidnappers are trying to achieve their goal by terrorizing Western clergy, businessmen, and educators (and, indirectly, decisionmakers). Arthur Avnon Consulate General of Israel Boston

While presenting an excellent overview of the US problem with the Barbary States, Thomas V. DiBacco's article ``The Barbary States and US hostages'' (July 11) makes an erroneous geographical reference. He begins by referring to North Africa as the Middle East: ``American hostages in the Middle East numbered 119 in 1793, . . . .'' Another reference to the ``Middle East'' included Tunis, Morocco, and Algeria as part of the Middle East. Raouf J. Halaby Arkadelphia, Ark.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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