U.S. Arms Exports

Your story "U.S. Weighs New Arms Sales Policy" (Nov. 15) omitted an important implication of the revised policy. Taking into account domestic economic considerations in approving arms exports isn't going to increase sales to democratic nations--they are already welcome to buy all they can afford. Economic considerations will instead be used to justify weapons sales to potentially repressive or aggressive regimes.

In the interests of the U.S. arms industry, are we about to start exporting tanks and missiles to countries like Croatia, Burma and, before long, Syria? As both Iran and Iraq demonstrated, selling weapons doesn't buy allegiance to the United States.

With arms exports by Russia down, it is depressing to see our government encouraging U.S. producers to fill the gap. Arms spending is a terrible waste of resources in this era of massive social and environmental problems.

It might be politically smart for the Administration to give a boost to the defense industry, but it stinks from another point of view. It takes a long time to change global attitudes about fundamental issues like arms spending, but someone has to set them in motion. When is President Clinton going to begin thinking beyond two-year time frames?

GALEN van RENSSELAER

Hollywood

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* If you can't believe what you are reading in The Times lately, then get out your copy of "Alice in Wonderland" for a refresher course. One head of our Hydra-headed society pushes for crime control, if not eradication, with its incumbent jails and guards and police and probation officers, etc. Another "head" opts for the manufacture and sale of munitions to other countries so as to maintain a healthy economy with high-paying positions in this country; as if murderous use of high-tech weapons outside our borders is not criminal and we really shouldn't concern ourselves as long as the GNP improves.

Am I crazy, or is this just another form of civilized madness?

JAMES J. MURPHY

Laguna Niguel

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