Richard Cohen asserts that in the 1981 U.N. Security Council consideration of Israel's bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor, former ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick was "particularly scathing," likening the raid to "the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Libyan invasion of Chad" {"Those Calls for War," op-ed, Aug. 28}. This is misleading and by no means presents the whole picture.

In fact, Jeane Kirkpatrick engaged in long and strenuous negotiations with Iraq's foreign minister and members of the U.N. Security Council about the text of a resolution condemning the Israeli raid in an effort to delete any reference to the bombing as "aggression." A finding of aggression could have been construed as a legal determination that Iraq had a legitimate right to take countermeasures against Israel. It also would have meant the likely imposition of sanctions against Israel. Jeane Kirkpatrick succeeded in having the word "aggression" excised, arguing that the Israeli action had to be understood in the context of threats and on-going conflict. Only then did she join, on behalf of the U.S. government, in voting in favor of the resolution.

No similar reservations were expressed in denouncing Soviet aggression in Afganistan or Libyan occupation of Chad.

ALLAN GERSON Washington The writer was counsel to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1981 to 1985.