Editor: I am surprised that Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan have not convinced large nations that they cannot dominate determined small nations by military force, or even by sanctions and embargoes.
Of course I may be wrong in the case of Iraq. There are always exceptions. But I am disturbed by the unimaginative approach of big leaders to recalcitrant small nations. They and their advisers tend to say ''Send in the Marines! If necessary bomb, shoot and kill every man, woman, and child.'' We thought of doing it in Vietnam and the hawks said we should have done it.
Unfortunately, I have no easy solution to the problem. War, it has been said, is an extension of diplomacy by other means. That is undoubtedly true but, except for World War II, it has been a lousy solution throughout the 20th century.
I know the reason for all this. The men of my generation, who still are running the world, came of age in the 1930s and learned the lesson of Hitler -- stop an aggressor before he gets started. And both Russia and the U.S. were frightened that the forces of communism or the forces of capitalism and democracy were out to ''conquer the world'', which both indeed, implied that they were.
Iraq may be different. Perhaps it is not ideology, but oil. These things are always couched in high-blown ideological terms.
Schaefer and Volunteers
Editor: Now we know how Governor Schaefer feels about the importance of volunteers: He values them only to the extent they bring him votes. Seventy-eight percent was not valuable enough, so, scrap 'em.And here I thought volunteers were about people helping people, not people helping Governor Schaefer.
Editor: Headlines: "Gulf military accord eludes Bush." "Gorbachev insists Soviet cooperation can't be bought" (The Sun, Sept. 10) You know, if I had not seen the Bush-Gorbachev press conference, read for myself the joint communique and listened for hours to news analysis, I might believe your newspaper's obvious attempt to label the summit as a failure.
Look at the first paragraphs of your lead stories: ". . . Gorbachev . . . rejected . . ." ". . . Bush and . . . Gorbachev . . . failed to agree . . ." Clearly, your "spin" is an attempt to downplay the success of the summit. Why? I thought the front page was for reporting facts. When did you start using it for editorials?
You do yourself a disservice when you forget the role of a reporter, and you hasten the day when even newspaper addicts like myself turn to other media for the news.
Patrick L. Connolly.
Editor: A recent article, Liz Bowie wrote that the members of Church Universal and Triumphant ''give up worldly possessions to join the church.''
This is not the case. The church has members affiliated with more than 140 centers and study groups throughout the United States and in numerous foreign countries. None of them has donated their possessions ''to join the church.''
About 600 church staff members live in a monastic community at our international headquarters on the Royal Teton Ranch in Montana. Of this group, a small number have made a lifetime commitment to the church and receive lifetime support. People in this group may donate their possessions to the church. But in no instance is anyone required to donate their possession to join.
The writer is spokesman for the Church Universal and Triumphant.
Murray L. Steinman.
Corwin Springs, Mont.
Editor: Young John F. Kennedy, when he wrote his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, ''Profiles in Courage,'' said that ''a man does what he must, in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles, and dangers and pressures, and that is the basis of all human morality.'' State Sen. Frank Kelly did what he had to do, within the dictates of his conscience, and it cost him his seat in the legislature.
Whether you agree with his posture or not, it is difficult to deny that he is a modern profile in courage. He didn't waiver or straddle the fence, or refuse to take a position, but rather, led the fight to deny easy access to abortions. And, like Saint Thomas More, to compromise his principles would have been tantamount to denying his very self.
The citizens of Baltimore County and Maryland have lost a uniquely courageous, conscientious voice in Annapolis, who was ranked by peers and learned observers as one of the most effective members of the legislature.
G. Darrell Russell. Towson.
Editor: If Maryland is able to contain health care costs through the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC), and to maintain those costs at less than the national average, why can't the federal government do the same thing?
Carl L. Smith.
Get with the Recycling Pitch