In "What Term Limits Would Cost" {op-ed, Nov. 18}, David Broder states his satisfaction with the level of experience and expertise of those now in charge of our policy in the Persian Gulf. He is glad that we don't have neophytes making our decisions.

I am not so sanguine. First, I think Mr. Broder has made a limited appraisal of our situation. Do we now have people whose "experience" means that they have to cover their tracks or that they have invested in a course of action they began that is no longer justified by the facts? I see us stuck with the same leaders who got us into this problem -- men who sent arms to Saddam Hussein during his war with Iran; men who did not work to relieve the tensions in an unstable Iraq resulting in part from its lack of oil and seaports.

Still more frightening is that we have leaders who are victims of what is sometimes called "male morality," pure dedication to principle without reference to the human costs of decisions. I see leaders singling out Iraq's dreadful act of aggression but letting other aggressive behavior in the Middle East and elsewhere go unchallenged. I see President Bush making threats that sound very much as if his ego is involved in fighting a war. (Is he still fighting the "wimp" thing?) I see leaders ready to sacrifice our young men and women to preserve the American way of life (a euphemism for cheap gas?).

Second, why is the circle of decision makers so small? If it is reasonable or ethical that a circle this small with limited representation should be making national decisions of this magnitude, is this the group that should define what is the American way of life -- people whose sons are not fighting, people whose experience is not the typical American experience?

Where are the leaders with experience in waging peace? Where are the women legislators whose egos might not be so easily challenged by aggressive talk and the mothers who might be reluctant to send their own or another's children to their death? Where are the religious leaders who could occasionally remind the president that a "soft answer turneth away wrath"? Where are negotiators with skills in creating a win-win situation and the leaders with patience?

I fervently hope that David Broder's assessment is on target, but I don't think it is. JEAN H. LOWE Falls Church