I found Patrick J. Buchanan's article downright scary {"You've Won, Mr. President; Now Pardon Ollie and John," Outlook, July 19}. Just to think he was director of communications at the White House!

When I started reading "You've Won, Mr. President," I thought -- in all sincerity -- it was a satire. Then I noted the author. It was chilling.

Now he's writing a book about his childhood as a Catholic in the '50s. Pity that his views in the '80s, as expressed in the article, are entirely inconsistent with the position of Catholic social teaching, point by point.

-- Robert Brown

Three cheers for Patrick Buchanan's superb article -- every word of it was on target.

As he pointed out, one reason for the enormous groundswell of support for Oliver North was the clarity of his decency, honesty and loyalty against the shabby backdrop of the select committee's hypocrisy, frustrated rage and apparent hatred of the patriotic and spiritual values so eloquently espoused by North. -- Sheila Prince

Patrick J. Buchanan added Latin seasoning to his glorification of Oliver North and his wild-swinging attack on those who oppose military aid to the Nicaraguan contras. He turned to Cicero for the legal standard by which Ollie's contra caper should be judged: salus populi suprema lex -- "the people's good is the highest law." And who defines the people's good? Why, North and company, of course. Never mind the political process established by the Constitution, nor the worthy alternatives to overthrowing a government with which the United States maintains diplomatic relations.

North et al. have not only distorted U.S. constitutional principles; they also have shown that, notwithstanding their commendable abhorrence of Soviet influence in this hemisphere, they don't know how to defang it in Central America. Nor can Buchanan's aggressive ideas for rescuing contra aid redeem this benighted excuse for an anticommunist crusade south of the Rio Grande.

Contra aid or no contra aid -- this is not the sum and substance of our choices in Central America. There is another alternative, one far more in keeping with the finest traditions of American diplomacy and the most enlightened use of American power. Adapting the historic statesmanship of Secretary of State George C. Marshall in the face of a grave political and economic crisis in Europe after World War II, the United States should commit itself to an economic development strategy in Central America that addresses the urgent needs of the people of that region including the advancement of human rights, political freedom and economic justice. And it should commit itself as well to defending these countries against military aggression from any quarter. We are already party to such a military commitment under the Rio pact, 40 years old this September.

If Nicaragua isn't ready to change its ways to take part in such a new deal for Central America, it should be isolated and kept at bay until a counterrevolution for democracy turns things around. The achievements of the other Central American countries under the new strategy would, in time, inspire the changes in Nicaragua we so earnestly desire.

As for Buchanan, let's appropriate Cicero's exclamation against Catiline: How long, Patrick, will you abuse our patience? -- David J. Steinberg

What would Congress do with the truth? How many got elected telling the truth? Could this concern with their own perfidy be the real issue behind the Iran-contra hearings?

I wonder how many members of Congress could stand up to the cross-examination delivered to North and Poindexter, especially regarding promises made to various groups?

Your publishing of Buchanan's article redeemed my faith in the press. -- James R. Howerton

The Post goes overboard to appear fair when it publishes articles such as the one by Patrick Buchanan. It is entirely appropriate and responsible to present a wide range of views on controversial issues. However, it would also seem suitable that a newspaper such as The Post publish articles in which the authors give reasoned explanations of their points of view, thus adding to readers' understanding of these issues. I would suggest that polemics such as Buchanan's, full of inflammatory and accusatory language, do not qualify.

-- Helen Staren

The final paragraph of Pat Buchanan's myopic column brings into sharp focus what many have suspected since the 1981 coronation of Ronald Reagan. The lunatic fringe of the radical right in this country clearly prefers that we be governed by an unrestricted monarchy.

But only when their political party is in the White House.

-- Dan Rosenson It is good that Patrick Buchanan is writing a book about his Catholic boyhood, because it is clear from his writings that he has learned little since about the world of faith.

Twice in his article Buchanan made gratuitous and long-discredited comments about the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees. Buchanan called the U.S. Congress a "Sanhedrin of hypocrites" filled with "the stuffy self-righteousness of the Pharisees putting him {Lt. Col. Oliver North} through his ordeal."

Far be it from me to defend the select committees, but I rise in defense of the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees. The Sanhedrin was the supreme political, religious and judicial body in Palestine both before and after the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. The Pharisees were the founders of a great religious tradition, Rabbinic Judaism, and the authors of a document still authoritative for religious Jews, the Talmud.

Obviously Buchanan has not studied in a Roman Catholic institution in the post-Vatican II era. Were he to enroll in a New Testament course at Georgetown University today, he would learn that serious scholarship had long ago discredited Sthe pejorative depiction of the Pharisees and shown it to be an exaggerated distortion of religious realities in ancient Judea by Christian writers seeking to finalize the break between early Jewish Christians and the Jewish people.

For two millennia, these depictions of the Pharisees were a significant source of anti-Semitism. When they are repeated today, they are correctly perceived as an unlearned insult to Judaism.

Were The Post's editors on vacation or do they share this ill-informed perspective on faith? I leave it to others to assess Buchanan's comparison of the Irangate hearings with the crucifixion -- but is he not also insulting the central mystery of his faith?

-- Michael Berenbaum