Letters to the Editor. Rainbow Warrior's troubled waters

Although the article finding ``few similarities'' between France's Greenpeace affair and Watergate is basically sound, it should include moral comparisons between the two scandals, [``Greenpeace and Watergate: few similarities,'' Oct. 2]. Quite simply, no one died in Watergate. However sordid were the characters, they were merely playing an embarrassing role in a rivalry between political parties. In France, however, a decision was made to dispatch agents to an ostensibly friendly nation to violently stop preparation of a peaceful protest. In doing so, one man was killed.

The ``Watergate mentality'' which caused both incidents should not overshadow the political facts behind France's motives in sinking the Greenpeace ship.

First, French nuclear testing continues in the South Pacific despite nearly unanimous opposition to such testing in the region and despite recurring signs of serious environmental damage.

Second, the act of resorting to state-sponsored terrorism to protect one's nuclear-weapons tests from a passive symbol of protest suggests a serious moral flaw. Peter Dykstra Greenpeace USA Washington

I am displeased with the rather one-sided news coverage of the sinking of Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior, as if Greenpeace members were only minding their own business on some sort of pleasure cruise in New Zealand. Instead, they were preparing to interfere with French interests in Antarctica.

Greenpeace claims to take ``nonviolent direct action'' to try to right what they think is wrong. This has included the ramming and sinking of a whaling vessel and interference with Soviet whaling operations.

Greenpeace seems to recognize no national boundaries and to respect no nation's sovereignty. I am not surprised someone has tried to curb their actions. Dana Smith Boston

The recent French admission of guilt in the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior seems rather ironic in the context of France's usual moral self-righteousness in international affairs.

Its response to the US mining of the Nicaraguan harbors was moral indignation and an offer to help remove the mines. While criticizing the US for arming the ``contras'' in Nicaragua, France continues to be the third largest arms supplier in the world. Jon Stoffel Elsah, Ill.

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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