Regarding the editorial "Be Intelligent After the Cold War," April 16: If money were the only issue, you might be right to endorse the Clinton administration's extraordinary plan to increase the CIA and other intelligence budgets - at $28 billion - more than the federal budget for education. But money is only symptomatic of the problem. All of the spies and satellites money could buy did not prevent the disasters of Vietnam and Iran, where we clung to regimes out of touch with their own populations.
The Clinton administration is now making two equally serious mistakes. It is much too partisan and intrusive in its support for Boris Yeltsin in the hope that he will impose our version of the free market (and concessions to Western businesses), despite the hardship this is causing. We deliberately overlook the increasingly dictatorial nature of his rule and lump together his moderate constitutional opponents with the extremists. The result is likely to be dictatorship by Mr. Yeltsin or by his most vehem ent opponents.
Likewise, in the Middle East, the Clinton administration, in its unbalanced support for Israel, is alienating the Arab world and fueling the very fundamentalism it fears. Cloaks and daggers and their electronic equivalents cannot prevent these errors. They only feed the illusions that give rise to a manipulative foreign policy that fails to address the basic issues. David Keppel, Essex, Conn. Congress's tactics of sabotage
Regarding the front-page article "Clinton Digs In on Stimulus Plan," April 15: The Republican filibuster of Clinton's economic-stimulus package is one more example of how political infighting makes effective democracy scarce in America. The author is correct in stating that although the plan contains little in the way of real economic stimuli, it is important in setting the tone for acceptance of Clinton's more radical health-care system overhaul.
Republicans realize this, together with the fact that economic failure during Clinton's term will be attributed to Clinton alone and not to congressional bungling. This happened to Bush in his last year, and it played a large part in his loss of public approval. The tactic of sabotaging is used by both parties and does little to improve the public's perception of Congress.
It is despicable when the plan was as good as mandated by the people in electing Clinton last November. Patrick Gaston, Colorado Springs, Colo. Justice for abused children
Your editorial "Child Abuse and Vigilante `Justice'," April 15, presents a "high minded" view from the comfortable height of the ivory tower.
However, you entirely neglect the cause of the vigilante justice administered at the hands of the frustrated mother who summarily executed the previously convicted child molester recently charged with molesting several more children, including her son.
Having been in the "trenches" representing young, helpless victims of child molesters, I understand the great frustration with the law enforcement and justice systems when they continue to fail child victims time and time again.
Until the system shows that it can work quickly and effectively in this volatile field, I believe we will continue to face the possibility that child predators who "smirk" at their victims while awaiting "kid glove" treatment in the legal system will die at the hands of their victims. David J. Reese, Reno, Nev.