A little balance, please. For months your pundits have decried the crimes of Stalinist Russia: Katyn Forest, the Gulag, etc. In contrast, you've given offhand treatment to recent disclosures of U.S. assistance to the genocide in Indonesia during the mid-1960s. The bottom line of Stephen S. Rosenfeld's July 13 op-ed column "The Year of Living Cynically?" for example, seemed to be that the slaughtered Indonesians were Communists and deserved what they got, and who cares anyway? As the barbaric history of America's war against "subversion" has shown, there is ample reason to care.
You might begin with the 1953 CIA coup that installed the shah of Iran and his torture-happy SAVAK secret police. Then move on to the 1954 CIA ouster of Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected leader of Guatemala and our installation and support of the subsequent regimes of right-wing butchers.
From there, recall the 1960 murder of Patrice Lumumba, democratically elected leader of Zaire, which has since been ruled by Sese Seko Mobutu, a rapacious dictator who, with our support, has ground his people into poverty. In the interest of time, you might skip the atrocities committed against civilians during the Vietnam War in the name of "democracy" and proceed to the story of U.S. support of Ferdinand Marcos, Augusto Pinochet and Anastasio Somoza.
How ironic that the Soviets are confronting their past mistakes and crimes when we are not. One can only imagine what the Stephen Rosenfelds of the future will write about the thousands being "disappeared" in El Salvador and Guatemala. Will they attribute their deaths to "the bloody ways of history" instead of our policies, and say, "Who cares? They're just dead commies." Or will your paper have gathered enough outrage and enough courage by then to report the truth?
-- Paul Patrick Rooney