The Post's excellent Feb. 9 editorial about Peter Arnett and Sen. Alan Simpson's bootlicking remarks to Saddam Hussein last April omitted one telling detail. In their meeting with Saddam Hussein, all the senators failed to bring up with him the fact that, shortly before, he had summarily hanged on trumped-up spying charges an entirely innocent freelance journalist working for our newspaper.

For Sen. Simpson to tell Saddam Hussein the month after the execution that "I believe your problem is with the Western media," is appalling. He owes an apology -- and certainly an explanation -- to the still-grieving family and friends of the dead young reporter. Our colleague went as a journalist to Iraq, where he tried to investigate Saddam Hussein's chemical and nuclear plants, and he lost his life as a result; Sen. Alan Simpson went to Baghdad as a politician shortly thereafter and proceeded to grovel to Saddam Hussein. He is in no position to lecture us about "sympathizers." ANDREW STEPHEN Washington Bureau Chief The (London) Observer Washington

Sen. Alan Simpson's comments about CNN correspondent Peter Arnett {"Sen. Simpson Calls Arnett 'Sympathizer'; CNN Reporter Blasted for Iraq Coverage," Style, Feb. 8}, portraying him as an Iraqi sympathizer remind one of McCarthyism at its ugliest. Particularly repugnant is the fact that this criticism has come from a man who shamelessly was giving advice to Saddam Hussein as recently as last April on how to improve his image in the Western media.

The Bush administration has stated time and again that our war is with Saddam Hussein and his military, not with the people of Iraq. If the Iraqi civilian targets are hit, the American people need to know about it. Even though Mr. Arnett's reports are censored by the Iraqis, as he repeatedly makes clear, they are of immense value in ascertaining truth in the fog of war.

If Iraq can withstand thousands of tons of our bombs every day, surely our republic can withstand some censorship of reports by the Iraqis. These reports do not weaken our resolve to end Saddam Hussein's aggression; they play up the basic strength of our free society.

Mr. Arnett's famed Baghdad broadcast with his CNN colleagues on that eerie and frightful night of Jan. 16 and his exceptional broadcasts under most trying circumstances since then have given a human dimension to an impersonal, high technology Nintendo-like war and are an essential reminder that, in this global village, human suffering knows no boundaries, whether it be in Iraq, Kuwait or Israel.

For this realization, Iraqi censorship is a small price to pay. What proved to be costly and dangerous was our own government's benign and mindless policy toward Saddam Hussein before his invasion of Kuwait, as exemplified by Sen. Simpson's kowtowing comments to Saddam Hussein last year. RAMESH P. RAVELLA Manassas

Regarding the article "Sen. Simpson Calls Arnett 'Sympathizer,' " I find it particularly ironic and a bit amusing that a man who only this past spring gushed that Saddam Hussein's problems lay with the Western media now feels he's in a position to criticize others on this issue.

Since Sen. Simpson has such a burning recollection of his "early days in the Second World War," may I propose a little comparison? I find Sen. Simpson's actions equivalent to those of a U.S. senator meeting Adolf Hitler in Berlin, in approximately the spring of 1939 (six months before his invasion of Poland) and telling him "well chancellor, your problems are with the media, not the U.S. government."

Of course, it's a well-worn political ploy to focus blame on others to deflect it from one's self. If that was the senator's intent, he performed masterfully.

I rest easy at night knowing that the good senator stands ready to embark on junkets to visit Assad in Syria, Kim Il Sung in North Korea or any one of a number of other potential U.S. adversaries to enlighten them that their problems are with the wretched Western media.

JOEL G. CAVICCHIA Washington

I am in full agreement with the comments Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) made in reference to Peter Arnett. My only comment would be that Sen. Simpson was much too gentle in his summation. It's my opinion, as well as that of a great number of people I have talked to, that Mr. Arnett is not only a "sympathizer." I would label him as a dupe, an apologist and a mouthpiece for Saddam Hussein.

If he were broadcasting anything that was not helpful to Saddam Hussein, do you really think he would be permitted the privilege of sitting on the veranda of a luxury hotel and being driven around the countryside by Saddam Hussein's henchmen? How naive can you be?

Mr. Arnett is almost as ridiculous as were the three "journalists" sitting in their room the first night of the war, running from one window to another "reporting" the war. They were more like a bunch of kids at the arcade in Ocean City playing Nintendo war games. Edward R. Murrow, Ernie Pyle and other real journalists would roll over in their graves, if they could hear such trite reporting and read such garbage in the King of Trash newspaper, The Washington Post.

I find it interesting that one of The Post's own, Juan Williams, berated Mr. Arnett quite strongly on a Saturday night TV forum show. His opinion was similar to what many are now saying about Mr. Arnett. Also, when talking with the Department of Defense last week, I was told by one of the officers that they were being ''swamped'' with calls from all over the country about the Arnett reports aiding Saddam Hussein. In addition, I understand petitions are going out to advertisers on CNN complaining about this propagandist, who is being referred to as ''the Jane Fonda of the Persian Gulf War.''

It's not unusual that The Post would take Mr. Arnett's side {"Sen. Simpson and Peter Arnett," editorial, Feb. 9}. Nationally known as the ''scum bag of yellow journalism,'' The Post has proven whose side it is always on when the United States is involved with another country. Further proof was very evident in a recent Sunday edition, when The Post ran over three pages of articles and pictures of the war and anti-American protesters, in comparison to less than one-fourth of a page for the pro-American demonstrators.

The Post is always ''there'' for the Jesse Jacksons, the Ramsey Clarks, the Molly Yards and the other dregs of society, which is why The Post receive's my ''Sleaze Award'' almost every year for journalistic slime. PAUL K. GLADFELDER Hebron, Md.