The whys behind Soviet dissent

John Hughes writes in ``Moscow holiday,'' Dec. 24, that the real measure of Gorbachev's attitude on human rights will be Soviet treatment of less prominent political prisoners, easing of emigration for Soviet Jews and reunification of divided spouses. It is more important, however, to monitor the Soviet policies which cause political dissent. Dissent is periodically allowed to surface, flourish, only to be viciously eliminated. Until the Soviet regime allows freedom of speech, religion, press, travel, association, and national self-determination - as promised by the Soviet Constitution - the West must regard Gorbachev's recent release of prominent dissidents as a clever public relations stunt. Tamara Horodysky Berkeley, Calif.

VISA - Visits International for

Soviets and Americans

If war is now the ``leading industry'' in the Middle East, why does former Senator Charles H. Percy think that increasing arms sales to the region will lead to peace? [``The costs of conflict in the Middle East,'' Dec. 22]. On what historical grounds could one claim that ``sales of defensive arms to our proven friends'' are ``linked'' to the progress of peace there?

The inner logic of Mr. Percy's argument drives toward reduced military aid and, above all, a more forthright commitment to political solutions which include negotiations with all parties to the conflict. Richard E. Gillespie Dean of the Chapel

Carroll College Waukesha, Wis.

Thank you for covering the awarding of Professor of the Year to Dr. Rosemarie Tong [``Professor of the Year,'' Dec. 8]. Since she adheres to Sartre's philosophy that ``in choosing for myself I choose for others,'' her procedures for thinking accurately become important. As a former professor of law who has observed many college graduates in the law school classroom, I have frequently wondered whether any organized procedures for thinking are taught in college.

If students wish to think analytically, they may need to ask for the training.

An organized approach to decisionmaking provides not only more effective answers but peace of mind for the decisionmaker. The analytically trained thinker knows that there is a procedure for finding correct answers to problems even though the substantive answers to those problems may at first seem elusive. Charles C. McCarter Managing Partner

Gage & Tucker St. Louis

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