My wife and I were on TWA Flight 840 over Greece on April 2, 1986. My wife was injured seriously enough to hospitalize her for a week. We were asked on many occasions by the press if we were angry over being injured. Our answer was a definite "no" although we did not enjoy one bit of the experience.
Then on our return home I became very angry, perhaps mad would be a better word to describe my feelings, after reading an article in The Times by Richard N. Goodwin (Editorial Pages, May 2), "Fervor Gives Way to Reason on Libya--Raid Was Wrong."
Although there is no indication Libya was involved in the bombing of Flight 840 that snuffed out the lives of four American citizens, the bomb came within inches of killing my own beloved wife plus severely injuring several other people and endangering the lives of all the other passengers and crew. We do know and have known for a long time that terrorists are being trained in some countries in the world and as of now show no signs of discontinuing the practice, which is a form of warfare in itself.
In the case of the bombing of the disco in Germany we have an altogether different situation. If the pieces of information are correct there was beyond a shadow of doubt that Libya was involved directly in the bombing. Ronald Reagan, as President of our great country, not only had the right but also the duty to respond to what was an act of war to protect the lives and property of American citizens wherever they may legitimately be. Without this protection ultimately we will be restricted to our own shores and separated from other friendly nations that depend upon our trade and assistance.
Goodwin should go back just a few years and perceive the money we so lavishly dished out to Third World powers at that time. Our mistake was that we gave too much and did not force them to clean up their own corruption before we gave them one dime.
Let us address Goodwin's reference to the perverted national press. I, for one, would like to take exception to that statement. I have not always agreed nor disagreed with them. I found that in our recent experience all the press we encountered were fair, kind and considerate, trying to do at times a disagreeable job. At no time did they try to coerce us into making off-the-cuff statements we would later wish we had not made.
As for Goodwin's remark that our President made an obscene spectacle irritates me no end. I personally wish that Goodwin apologize to him. If he feels he can't I would be happy to do it for him as you must admit it was a rather thoughtless statement.
Being the victim of a bombing does not make me an historian, a military strategist or a politician. All it means is that I am still a rather insignificant U.S. citizen who just wishes to go on about my business in peace.
As to terrorism being the only recourse of the terrorist, I say hogwash. There are many more avenues open that will more than accomplish the desired goals of all parties involved. All terrorism accomplishes in the end is to further widen the already wide chasm that now exists.
HENRY S. SIEMSEN