It is nothing less than stunning for Stephen Rosenfeld to focus on William Shawcross's political and moral accounting regarding the Vietnam War while ignoring Henry Kissinger's refusal to do the same ["The Shawcross Apology," op-ed, May 21]. Mr. Shawcross's willingness to accept that neither side in the Vietnam debate had a monopoly on truth or the ability to predict the future stands in sharp contrast with Mr. Kissinger's inability to recognize and admit his own role in prolonging and expanding this nation's preeminent foreign policy disaster.

It was, after all, Mr. Kissinger and not Mr. Shawcross who conspired to drag a heretofore neutral Cambodia into the maelstrom that was the Vietnam War, destroy its last shred of neutrality, destabilize Prince Sihanouk's rule and, as Mr. Shawcross demonstrates so clearly in his book "Sideshow," set the stage for the terror of the Khmer Rouge. All of this, of course, was accomplished largely in secret because of the Nixon-Kissinger conspiracy to keep Congress and the American people from learning about the secret bombings.

That this secrecy was punctured is a tribute to William Shawcross, who clearly has the personal integrity and dedication to the truth that Henry Kissinger has always lacked.


Falls Church