US Policy in Peru

The Opinion page article "The Wrong War in Peru," May 29, is an attempt at scare tactics by implying that the "Andean strategy" could be another Vietnam. For example, there was never a "skirmish" between Peruvian Air Force planes and a US C-130. The US aircraft was unarmed and merely sought to depart Peruvian territory when confronted by the Peruvians.

By law, the US Green Berets' military assistance training has been restricted to the Peruvian police. The deaths of four Americans during this training, while regrettable, represent a small number compared with the total killed in US cities every day by criminals. Should we give up on crime, too?

The sad truth is that the authors are right but for the wrong reasons and the wrong goals. The US should be helping Peru's military to enable it to defend Peru's governmental integrity against the Maoist Shining Path insurgency. For decades we ignored Peru because of its ties to the USSR. Now, with the USSR gone, the US has no excuse for not helping a democracy survive.

President Alberto Fujimori represents the best hope for Peru to rise up from the chaotic disaster of his predecessor, Alan Garcia. We have it in our power to guarantee democracy's success or failure in Peru by helping - not hindering - Mr. Fujimori. Blas Urquidez Jr., Springfield, Va.

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