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Interception justifiable

When I saw the opinion column ["Reagan played Rambo in hijacker interception," Oct. 29], I thought I would read a critique of Reagan, of whom I am no exponent. However, I was appalled at the misleading title which merely hid the attempted justification of the PLO's terrorism with some added anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric to whet certain political appetites.

Is the "Achille Lauro" incident so "relatively lucky" because the hijackers got scared before they could kill someone else besides Leon Klinghoffer?

More to the point, after terrorist attacks which have gone unpunished and which have claimed 240 American marines in Lebanon, another on a TWA flight, several academics and clergy, and most recently Leon Klinghoffer, it is absurd to think that the US interception was done in the name of Reagan's vanity. Although I do not like Reagan, I do not see him as such a megalomaniac. For once the terrorists could not evaporate as they have done before. Our policy on terrorism is to apprehend those directly responsible; ergo, our government intercepted them. The recent warrant for Abbas (a reversal by Italy) after prematurely releasing him is the kind of non-cooperation that our government feared.

That is the extent of any connection to Rambo in the article, and next comes the rhetoric. Is the justice in the United States a farce for the terrorists whereas the justice by the PLO against its own members less a farce? It is interesting that Lukas and I agree that to fight terrorism one must get at the source. It is true that the Middle East problem must be solved to accomplish this end. However, when Arafat avers to use "an olive branch in one hand and military arms in the other," to say that the PLO is the sole representative while admitting that he has no control over "splinter groups" within the PLO, how can anybody, be it Hussein, Mubarak, or even Peres, expect to get an unambiguous answer?

While this dichotomy exists, any words of agreement by the PLO are inherently unstable. It is no wonder that Arafat and the terrorists lied about the circumstances of Klinghoffer's death and Abbas' role in the hijacking (both controverted by an autopsy and a confession by one of the terrorists respectively).

Also, I do not find terrorism an "understandable" response to anything. It is because they do not have acceptable negotiating positions (for the other Arab states, US, or Israel) that they resort to the self-destructiveness of violence. It has not gained one iota for the Palestinians who live on the West Bank. Nor do I find that the media should be blamed by the terrorists for its own acts. In fact, the media abets by sensationalizing them. It is free publicity to the dismay of many Palestinians who want peace and who know that these acts do not represent them.

In closing, I will agree with Lukas that just solutions to the many Middle-eastern problems are the only way, and that the US actions were a bit heavy-handed. However, to be able to conclude that Israel does not want peace and is at fault for blocking negotiations is beyond reason.

Anyway, is it not chic to be against the United States and its allies?

David Leonard Wagger G->