The Post boldly headlined its Nov. 14 editorial on Chechnya "No Funds for Russia's War" and in the lead sentences charged that the U.S. taxpayer is funding Russia's war there. The editorial, however, concluded merely that "the United States should not be complicit in the crime."

In a city in which many government agencies have some type of "aid" program going with the Russians, it is surprising that The Post can't finger some undeserving ones that should be cut back -- and soon. Nor does The Post single out programs that should get funding increases, such as U.S. international broadcasts to the affected areas.

The West seems to mimic every Russian claim about fighting for its territorial integrity against "terrorists" and "bandits," instead of calling what is happening in Chechnya by its name: genocide. The territorial integrity issue should not be treated as if it were sacred. Chechnya, like some 17 other major non-Russian areas, is not an integral part of Russia, but one of many units of the Russian Federation.

Ultimately, the Russian action in Chechnya is meant to send a message that Russia will seek to reassert its hold on other non-Russian areas. The West, its governments and media will have to be far more determined to prevent that from happening.


Damascus, Md.

The writer is executive director of the American Latvian Association.