Moral government

In ``A chat with spydom's former chief'' (July 17), Louise Sweeney quotes Adm. Stansfield Turner as calling morality-based criticism of covert CIA activities ``flawed attempts to transform an idealized view of morality between individuals to a standard of morality between nations.'' Presumably Admiral Turner prefers the pragmatic to the ``idealized.'' But haven't millennia of history taught us that, in the long run (and the short run), nothing is more purely practical than morality-based thought and action? And why should governments be excused from morality any more than individuals are? Aren't they supposed to represent their citizen populations?

What is an individual citizen supposed to think when he sees his government engaged in an action which, if he were to do it on his own, might well lead him to Sing Sing or the chair? Double standards have tended to disrupt every group that has tried to live by them. Carroll P. Cole New Haven, Conn.

The opposing arguments regarding network television coverage of terrorist acts, ``Congress probes the troubling mix of TV and terror'' (Aug. 1), fail to address an underlying problem in American society. Yes, the networks should strive to present their reporting of these crimes in a more professional and tasteful manner. Equally as productive as this debate would be an investigation into one of America's most disturbing maladies: The phenomenon of tens of millions of us blindly clicking on the tube every day and unthinkingly absorbing countless hours of whatever fills the screen. If there are those who object to network programming, simply turn those sets off! Devin T. Hagerty Washington

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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