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Arms sales as security

The opinion-page column ``When arms sales replace foreign policy,'' Oct. 3, suggests that US arms sales to the Middle East are excessive and that the recent sale of F/A-18 aircraft and Maverick G missiles to Kuwait is unjustified. I disagree. US conditions on arms sales are more stringent than those of any other major supplier. Kuwait, a good friend of the United States, is a small country surrounded by much larger, better-armed neighbors. Deliveries of the F/A-18s and Maverick G missiles will significantly enhance Kuwait's security by enabling it to protect its assets, including the tanker fleets on which its economy and the free flow of oil to the West depend.

The sale contributes to Gulf security as well. How can we expect Kuwait to accept the burden of helping to keep Gulf waterways open without giving it the wherewithal to do so? Kathleen Bailey, Washington, Assistant director Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

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The joys of dance The Home Forum essay ``Care to contradance?,'' Oct. 5, was quite enjoyable, but sorely mistitled. The article describes what is generally referred to as international folk dancing; this is not at all the same as contradancing.

Contradancing is a style of dance brought to the US by English settlers. It is a couple dance form involving opposing lines of men and women executing figures, somewhat similar to those in square dancing, by which the partners progress up and down the set. As in square dancing, which is a latter development of contradancing, the figures are usually given by callers.

In contrast, international folk dancing generally covers a wide variety of dance styles from Europe and the Middle East. They may be line dances, circle dances, or couple dances.

On the whole these are two distinct groups of dancers. Some dancers like both types equally, but more often they will prefer one over the other.

In either case, the dancing is great fun, and we hope this essay will encourage more people to try it. Diana & Bill Blanchard, University City, Mo.

Dealing with diapers Regarding the article ``Diaper dilemma,'' Oct. 17: The throwaway mentality has gripped the US although there is no more away.

When disposable diapers were introduced in the United States market after World War II nobody thought of the consequences. ``Disposable'' diapers take 400 years in a landfill to disintegrate, and dioxin is produced in the making of these diapers. Bravo for those who use cloth diapers! Elizabeth Steckman, Everett, Pa.

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