letters to the editor 88.
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Now I see it
Sir, - Let me share a thought that came to mind in light of recent French accusations that Israel is responding disproportionately to Hizbullah attacks ("Europe's papers divided on Lebanon," July 20).
In August 1944 I landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy (not as a hero - the front had moved on by then). As we drove away from the beach we saw the ruins of the French towns of Caen and Carentan. They had been destroyed as the US Army put a force on that shore significantly larger than the German units that had defended the area. To get the job done, we had to bomb and shell the areas occupied by the Germans, including these French towns.
Given the recent French remarks I now understand what happened to them in 1940. They responded to the German invasion "proportionately."
The writer is former US assistant secretary of state for human rights.
Fate of a hero
Sir, - It's Raoul Wallenberg's birthday today and over 60 years since his disappearance. Hasn't the time finally come for his fate to be revealed? The ongoing "100,000 Names for 100,000 Lives" campaign has already accumulated over 22,000 signatures in an effort to solve the mystery, and 425 pages of it have been presented to President Vladimir Putin, other world leaders and the UN.
Sixty-one years ago Wallenberg risked his life saving 100,000 lives from Nazi death camps, directly opposing Adolf Hitler's extermination plans in Hungary. On January 17, 1945, he was seized by the Soviet Army, after which his whereabouts are unknown.
The official Soviet line has always been that he suffered a heart attack and died on July 17, 1947 - but there are reports of people meeting him up into the 1980s. There is evidence he may have been placed in a prison where numbers, not names, were used, or even in a mental institution. Moscow has denied access to KGB intelligence files.
In another campaign called "Let's bring Raoul home" leading personalities are writing directly to Putin for information on Wallenberg. So far the answer has been the same: Wallenberg died in the Soviet Union in 1947.
The Soviet Union is gone, and the truth is no longer a matter of Russian shame. President Putin holds the key. We that this will be the last Wallenberg birthday celebrated while he is still missing and his fate undetermined.
Int'l Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
Sir, - Re "ABC drops Gibson's Holocaust miniseries" (August 2), I have the perfect second career for Mel Gibson: Middle East correspondent for CNN or the BBC.
Edison, New Jersey