You pointed out a sad and important truth about the District not being represented in Congress's vote to authorize the president to order an attack on Iraq {news story, Jan. 15}. But the 600,000 residents of the District are not alone.

Nearly 4 million Americans in the territories and commonwealths of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also were not represented. What's more, unlike District citizens, they cannot even vote for president.

Thousands of these insular Americans are in the Persian Gulf. They include reservists as well as regular-service men and women. And because of the limited economic opportunities in these insular areas, a proportionally greater number of insular Americans are in our armed forces.

This situation is not new. Insular Americans have been called up to serve since World War I. Many served in Vietnam, and they suffered a relatively high proportion of the casualties of that war. They have not, though, shirked their duty or challenged it. They have served willingly and valiantly.

Yes, it is outrageous that the young people of the District who are being called up to fight -- and their families and neighbors -- are denied voting representation in Congress. But it is an even greater outrage that the U.S. citizens of our insular areas are denied voting representation in Congress and the opportunity to vote for the president who issued the order. -- Ron De Lugo

The writer is the nonvoting Democratic representative of the Virgin Islands and chairman of the House subcommittee on insular and international affairs.