Let's put our two primary crises in fiscal perspective. It will soon cost $1 billion a month to maintain a military posture in the Persian Gulf. The savings and loan fiasco, we are told, has already cost at least $500 billion. At current rates, that $500 billion could have paid (God forbid) for 41 years of continued military presence in the Gulf. It could also, of course, have paid for a myriad of aggressive domestic campaigns -- against poverty, disease, illiteracy, racial inequities, inadequate housing and more.


Recently The Post has reported that Egypt now has 2,000 troops in Saudi Arabia and that President Bush plans to forgive Egypt's $7 billion-plus in loans.

By my arithmetic, that comes to about $3.5 million per Egyptian soldier. Unfortunately, we don't know how long the president expects them to stay there at that price.

More alarming, however, is David Ottaway's report that Egypt may want to send 30,000 more troops to Saudi Arabia. How much will we be expected to pay for them?

On top of all our other financial problems, do we need a new ''soldiers and loan'' crisis?

JAMES R. EBERLY Gainesville, Va.

The administration is proposing to sell billions of dollars worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. For what purpose?

In the past, we have sent sophisticated arms to Saudi Arabia for "defensive" purposes. Yet when a crisis arose that threatened Saudi Arabia, it was evident that Saudi Arabia would be overrun easily. It was found necessary to dispatch thousands of U.S. troops to defend Saudi Arabia.

There were newspaper reports that the arms we had sent to Kuwait were taken over by the invading Iraqis. The same could have happened to Saudi Arabia.

The winners would be the various U.S. arms industries. The losers would be the Israelis, against whom any arms sold to Arab states would ultimately be used.