In his Nov. 4 op-ed "The Great Red Hope" Stephen Morris suggests that the "goal posts be moved" once again before the United States normalizes relations with Vietnam.

The new condition Mr. Morris adds is improvement in the human rights situation in Vietnam so as to be true to the "core moral values" of the United States.

Deng Xiaoping, Augusto Pinochet, Fulgencio Batista, the Shah of Iran, Mobutu Sese Seko, Baby Doc Duvalier, Gen. Somoza, Gen. Noriega and even Saddam Hussein benefited not only from normal relations but also from millions of dollars in lethal and nonlethal assistance. America's moral values were obviously not involved in cultivating these relationships. The documentation on Hanoi's violations can't hold a candle to the devastation wreaked by the despots listed above.

Given the increase in support in Congress, at the grass-roots level and in the business community for reestablishing relations with Vietnam, it is clear that Mr. Morris's purpose in writing his article was a last-ditch effort to forestall the inevitable.

While the struggle to ensure human rights across the globe should be supported and encouraged, it should not be an excuse to perpetuate outdated hostilities. MARTHA C. WALSH Program Assistant U.S. Indochina Reconciliation Project Philadelphia