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A Higher Order Than the Law: Nuclear Waste in the Philippines

Regarding the front-page article "US Leaves Toxins at Subic Navy Base," Nov. 24: I am pleased that the Monitor has once more exhibited first-class journalistic practice by bringing into the open an example of the United States at just about its worst. We have long heaped abuse on the former Soviets for the destruction of their land by dumping nuclear waste over large patches of their domain.

In contrast, we have believed that we were much less heinous with our military waste practices, such as at the Hanford Plant in Washington State. Nor would we knowingly despoil another's land; we would never leave "behind an environmental disaster" in the Philippines.

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But apparently we have. Allegedly, we said, "We comply with host-country laws. In the Philippines, there are none, so we are not in violation of any." Such a statement declares that the Air Force believes there is no higher order than the law - that there are neither ethical nor moral principles. We need a new covenant that raises us to a higher plane of behavior. Robert H. Jones, Rochester, N.Y.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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