The Rev. Richard O. Buhler's op-ed "Send a Message to El Salvador" {Oct. 2} opens like the gruesome part of a bad movie. It is true that the murder of the Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter was grisly. But he avoids mentioning the fact that it occurred during the bloody and savage week-long offensive of November 1989 by the Marxist guerrillas. Thousands died as a result of the inhumane use of civilians as unwilling shields by fanatics whose blindness is only exceeded by their lust for power.

It seems that the winds of change that blew throughout Eastern Europe last November and that resulted in an overwhelming victory by the democratic opposition in Nicaragua did not distract El Salvador's Marxist-Leninists from their resolve to take power by force. The beginning of a new world order has forced them to rethink strategy, but their goals remain the same: Negotiate in bad faith, make outrageous demands, make the country ungovernable and take the propaganda war to Congress in order to end the aid to my country.

The Rev. Buhler uses his Jesuit cloak to try to add credibility to his far from impartial view of the Salvadoran reality. What about the thousands of children who have fallen victim to the FMLN land mines? What about the executions of elected mayors in areas where the guerrillas exert their influence? Who will answer for the murder of President Cristiani's chief of staff, Mr. Jose Antonio Rodriguez Porth? Where was the Rev. Buhler in 1989 when the FMLN death squads killed a fellow Jesuit, Francisco Peccorini?

He points out that Rep. Joe Moakley (D-Mass.) gave a negative report on the lack of progress regarding the Jesuit case. What he didn't mention was that Rep. Moakley has lately come out against the guerrillas' inflexible positions. He said that their demands were "extreme and unrealistic." Rep. Moakley also condemned, "in the strongest possible terms, FMLN threats of another military offensive."

The Rev. Buhler and the followers of "liberation theology" have a clear political agenda. They desperately need a victory in El Salvador, but the brave Salvadoran people will never allow it.

Perhaps, the Rev. Buhler has been misled by groups such as CISPES and Neighbor to Neighbor (propaganda arms of the FMLN in Washington). Perhaps, he hasn't gotten the message himself: An FMLN victory would make the "killing fields" pale by comparison. True pastors do not take sides in a conflict of this nature. Rather, they condemn violence whence it comes. JOSE R. MOLINA Alexandria