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Sanctioning South Africa

The opinion-page column ``How US sanctions hurt blacks,'' Nov. 30, cites examples of two black South Africans who have suffered hardships because of sanctions and therefore ``blame divestment'' for marital difficulties and loss of jobs. It is important to recognize the potential short-term effects of sanctions. Getting a divorce and losing a job are not small matters, and I recognize the unfortunate nature of these circumstances.

I also believe that US sanctions against South Africa could and probably did play a role in bringing about these hardships.

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I must say, however, that to simply blame divestment for these problems without reaching further to cite the reasons sanctions must happen at all is viewing the situation with blinders.

As the column points out, not everyone is willing to accept the level of sacrifice that economic sanctions require, and I don't blame anyone for needing to point a finger at something to account for one's problems.

It is important, however, to point the finger in the right direction. Point it at the oppressor; point it at the South African government and all the supporters of apartheid. And yes, point it at the US.

The US deserves criticism for not being tougher on the South African government, for supporting UNITA and therefore the racist South African regime.

Imposing mandatory, comprehensive economic sanctions against South Africa is probably the only hope left for bringing about a peaceful solution to the problem of white dominance in South Africa. Jennifer Hix, Iowa City, Iowa

The motives of those who support sanctions are the best - the end to apartheid, and the start of fully democratic government in South Africa. This column serves a useful function in making them aware of the heavy short-term price of sanctions, whatever their long-term value in achieving worthwhile goals. Bruce Brager, Arlington, Va.

A disgraceful race I applaud the opinion-page column ``What have we learned, my fellow electors?,'' Nov. 30, on the presidential race, which was and is a national disgrace.

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Surely we have hit the bottom of the barrel, so now the only direction is up. Wouldn't it have made more sense to apply all the money that was spent on the so-called political races, TV ads, and media coverage to the national debt? Mary Robison, Toledo, Ohio

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