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The Price We Pay for Pragmatism in Bosnia

Since it began several years ago, I have followed the Bosnia war with a combination of dismay and confusion. But after reading the article "How Croatia Built Up Military Might," Aug. 2, I believe I have seen the light.

The United Nations' (read Western) attempts to preserve Bosnia and prevent the extermination of its culture have appeared half-hearted and thoroughly incompetent because that has not been their true agenda. The West has been feeding Bosnia to the Serbs, inch by inch, while at the same time overseeing the buildup of the Croatian military.

I suppose the hope is that, following the demise of Bosnia, Croatia and Greater Serbia will be locked in a "balance of power" in which neither side has a military edge. The mythical "wider war" will be prevented and peace in the Balkans preserved. Of course, this is exactly the kind of "pragmatic" Realpolitik that has been responsible for so much human misery over the years.

The best way to prevent the escalation of violence is by vigorously defending international law and human rights, not by "pragmatically" tossing them out the window.

Brian Evans Austin, Texas

A fuel move that deserves praise

I realize the tone of the article "Hey, Buddy, Want to Buy a Steam Turbine?" Aug. 15, is intended to treat the auctioning of portions of the Shoreham, N.Y., nuclear plant with a bit of humor. But unfortunately, the joke is on the author.

Instead of being "shipped off to a hole in the ground in Pennsylvania," the fuel will be used in Limerick, N.Y., to generate much- needed electricity.

In fact, the entire act of moving the fuel from Shoreham to Limerick deserves praise, not ridicule. Unfortunately, the nuclear power industry is often attacked by those who wield fear as a weapon.

John E. Moore Vienna, Va.

Applying laws through democracy

The editorial "Colorizing History," Aug. 2, is a good analysis of past events as seen by revisionist and other historians.

To avoid a repetition of the mass killings of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot and to build a peaceful global society, you prescribe confronting tyrants with credible threats of retaliation. Drawing a parallel with how bloody labor-management strife came to be avoided by means of laws that changed the climate, you advocate applying the lesson to the global scene. Laws, yes. However, the missing ingredient is the making and applying of laws through a democratic and federal system of government. Germany, by having become a democratic federal republic, can avoid another Hitler.

But wars and ethnic cleansings around the world will only become history when, overcoming the mind-sets of ultranationalists, religious fanatics, military dictators, and anarchists, we the people of the world achieve a democratic federal system of world government.

John O. Sutter San Francisco

Vice President

World Federalist Association of

Northern California

Antihunting victory: fiction over fact

I was pleased to see the opinion-page article "California's Lion-Protection Law Ought to Be Caged," Aug. 7. Prior to passage of this dubious legislation, antihunting groups had spent a vast amount of money to ensure that such articles would be obstructed by a barrage of emotionally charged rhetoric. Those of us who followed the months and years of misinformation and manipulation that ultimately led to the ban were treated to a case study in how to dupe the voting public. The coalition of antihunting groups responsible for this legislative victory should be swollen with collective pride, flush with the knowledge that at least in California, fiction can indeed triumph over scientific fact.

Thomas M. Basch Grand Rapids, Mich.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to "Readers Write" and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM

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