Arguably the most important article in Jan. 21 edition of The Post was John Yang's perceptive questioning of CNN's role in Baghdad's psychological warfare efforts {"Iraqis Allow CNN's Arnett to Stay," news story}.

With a shrewdness characteristic of the Middle East, Saddam Hussein obtained access to a technologically advanced and respected worldwide telecommunications network to disseminate his inflammatory propaganda. Providing the enemy access to instantaneous worldwide communications is of incalculable value in any conflict.

While I do not mean to say that CNN is deliberately providing false information to the public, ''parroting'' the official Iraqi propaganda line (even if so labeled) from a strict and controlled environment is hardly fair and unbiased reporting and is, I believe, a distinct disservice to the U.S. and coalition efforts in the Middle East.

I. LARGUIER JR. Arlington

One day following The Post's Style paean to CNN's Peter Arnett {Jan. 20} and his accomplishments in a lifetime of courageous journalism, both Tom Shales {Style} and John Yang {news story} allow that "questions are being raised" about Mr. Arnett's stay-behind reporting in Iraq. Mr. Yang goes so far as to repeat in his lead an especially scurrilous charge that the "conditions" under which Mr. Arnett is reporting "raised questions about whether he had been made the voice of Baghdad."

Neither Mr. Shales nor Mr. Yang tell us by whom such deliberately pregnant questions are supposedly being asked. One has an immediate suspicion that the two Post staffers are reading each other's copy and reporting, as meaningful fact, the baseless and tasteless musings of each other.

Those who know and admire Peter Arnett are unlikely to be led to question has professionalism by the journalism of Messrs. Shales and Yang, in which the passive voice apparently substitutes for attribution. Mr. Arnett's first-person reporting to date from Baghdad, even under the controls of a repressive state at war, represents -- and is likely to continue to represent as long as he is allowed to remain on the air -- vital insight that will serve the cause of increasing the public knowledge of the war.

Mr. Arnett's courage and commitment deserve the admiration of his peers and the public. When his reporting fails to meet normal standards, it would be better to criticize him openly rather than hide behind the questionable formulations of Messrs. Yang and Shales. To use such formulations to call Mr. Arnett "the voice of Baghdad" at a moment when the public is seized with war patriotism is particularly distasteful. RICHARD GILBERT Washington

I am sick and tired of hearing and reading Peter Arnett's one-sided accounts of the Gulf war. His recent interview with Saddam Hussein {news story, Jan. 29} further solidified that feeling.

If Mr. Arnett had any sense or intelligence, he'd know he's seeing and hearing exactly what Saddam Hussein wants him to. Mr. Arnett is nothing but a pawn in Saddam Hussein's deadly war game. He is playing into the Iraqi leader's hands quite nicely.

This is war, and it's inevitable that innocent people are going to be hurt. But that's Saddam Hussein's choice. I'm sure he won't blink an eye when he decides to launch chemical or biological weapons at innocent people. This man is an evil, vicious, murdering dictator, and no one should do anything to add fuel to his fire or promote his course, whether it be in the name of journalism or in the name of God -- which, by the way, Saddam Hussein is constantly blaspheming.

I am not in favor of war -- any war. But what will be will be. This is supposed to be the United States of America, and no matter what, I will support my country, my president and, more than anything, my troops.

Anyone who does not support those three things does not deserve to reap the benefits of this great country. SUE BONDZELESKE Fairfax

The world listens to Peter Arnett broadcasting on CNN from Baghdad. When he announces that he had learned in Vietnam to believe only what he sees, let us remind him that the Nazis gave the International Red Cross guided tours of the camps while masses were dying in gas chambers. Naive journalists like Mr. Arnett are not heroes, they are useful tools of disinformation for Saddam Hussein. LINDA GOUDSMIT West Bloomfield, Mich.

Peter Arnett pontificates about Iraq from his favored position in Baghdad. The question always at the forefront for any responsible journalist is: What constitutes news? To Mr. Arnett and CNN, anything from Iraq is news -- basically a false premise, as CNN well knows.

Mr. Arnett has a view that no other American newsman has, and it translates into more money for Ted Turner and his company. CNN's warning that the Baghdad broadcasts are censored and may favor Iraq, is a pitiful excuse for blatant propaganda.

Mr. Arnett interviews an American peace activist in Baghdad: Is this news? We could hardly expect him to interview a war activist for the U.N. in the surroundings. Obviously, it is not a balanced presentation of divergent viewpoints. Then we have the picture of an Iraqi woman ranting and raving about the bombing of Baghdad. Why not show in the telecast the sorrow and weeping of a woman who suffered the rape of Kuwait?

CNN repeatedly shows damaged private buildings in its Baghdad telecasts -- these pictures inflame Islamic fervor in neighboring countries such as Jordan and strengthen the anti-U.N. forces. This isn't news; it is a means of changing the political relationships in the Muslim world and is a detriment to the coalition forces. If we were formally at war with Iraq, CNN's actions would be out-and-out treason.

When CNN changes its news, I will change my views. BETTY L. HICKEY Elizabethtown, Pa.