North Is an Honorable Statesman

I was disappointed to see such a clearly partisan political attack on Oliver North in the opinion-page essay ``Chocolate Cake Diplomacy and Colonel Oliver North,'' Oct. 18.

The author is right to point out Mr. North's controversial past. But he undercuts his arguments through ad hominem attacks on North, and gives an incomplete picture of North's career.

It is what the author doesn't say that leads a reader to question his judgements. North's efforts to stop Salvadoran death squads were a major step in that country's journey to democracy, and his aid to democratic forces in Nicaragua led to the downfall of a totalitarian regime.

North has never ``disgraced'' America, but instead served it honorably. In the White House, he tried changing a do-nothing mentality into a can-do program. He has made enemies and taken risks. And risks, while clearly an anathema to the author's perception of ``statesmanship,'' are at the heart of all great statesmanship. Thomas S. Dimitri, Charleston, S.C.

Some civility on election '94

Thank you for giving me a good laugh this morning with Jeff Danziger's on-target cartoon about voter anger, Nov. 8. This year's election has been far too negative. And this was one of the few commentary pieces that provided a civil view of the situation. But I am always amazed - and pleasantly so - at how peacefully Americans accept the verdict of the ballot box. We do live in a remarkable country with a democratic heritage of which we can all be proud.

Also, thank you for the piece on Oliver North. It gave me an all-new take on the concept of ``chocolate soldier.'' Laurie Gorton, Mission, Kan.

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