Letters to the Editor. Asia's unity bid

Your editorial on the new regional organization for South Asia [``South Asia links,'' Dec. 6] is right on the mark. Only one thing is lacking: Special credit should be given to Bangladesh and its leader, President Ershad, for the initiative in establishing this organization. Marshall Green Washington In your article on ``South Asian nations launch bid for greater unity,'' concerning the launching of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Dec. 6), your correspondent cited Indian analyst Bharat Wariawalla to the effect that ``the idea of an organization being used to ease regional tension has no strong precedent anywhere.''

There are a number of precedents. If Mr. Wariawalla would just look a bit to the southeast of India, he would learn about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which 18 years ago brought together bickering neighbors and has produced a region and era of peace and friendly relations. John O. Sutter The Asia Foundation

San Francisco

``Trimming the disability roster'' (Dec. 10), with its urging of tact and fairness and genuine regard for individuals, prompts me to pick up my pen. The Congress would do better to (1) discontinue subsidy of tobacco crops -- at a time when tobacco use is a controversial issue anyway, and (2) disallow interest payments on second homes in a nation where many cannot afford even a primary home, often because second home buyers, with subsidized interest, drive home prices up. B. MacIntosh Lincoln, N.H.

As a reader who greatly admires your paper and its generally progressive attitude, could I make a tactful complaint about your piece on the performing elephants [``Heavy Duty,'' Dec. 5]? The article states that ``poles with hooks and whips'' are used to ``keep the animals in line.''

Anyone with an ounce of imagination knows that circus animals are ``kept in line'' by fear and hunger, and often by downright cruelty.

Why do elephants have to be trained to perform such silly antics as sitting on stools?

Alexander Pope said long ago that animals have their dignity too. T. Nelson-Humphries Williamsburg, Ky.

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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