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How to help El Salvador

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The compassion of the American people goes out to the tortured land of El Salvador. Despite their own wrestlings with personal adversity, they cannot be mindful of the bitter struggle of some four million impoverished and terrorized people to grope their way out of dark misery to a better life.The challenge for the United States, which so long neglected this corner of repression and destitution so close to home, is to foster the kind of political and economic system there which will enable Salvadorans to achieve this end. It is challenge made difficult by the complexity of the situation.

The essential question is: should the US continue to support the present military-civilian government in El Salvador?

President Reagan is determined to do so, despite warnings from West Europeans , some Latin American leaders, and many American specialists that the US is headed down a disas trous path. Fortunately, the President has said that he has "no intention" of involving the US in the fighting in El Salvador. That is reassuring. The lesson of becoming militarily embroiled in a local civil war should not be soon forgotten. By sending troops to El Salvador, the administration would only succeed in transferring the hatred of the Salvadorean people to the United States.

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