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Closing O.J. Case Won't Help Race Relations

Despite the acquittal of O.J. Simpson, we continue to hear commentary and opinion in print and broadcast media, and on talk shows, that a guilty man has gone free. We also hear that American society is dangerously polarized.

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Rarely do I see or hear discussion of other elements in the trial that support a ''not guilty'' verdict, discussion that can and should stop the continued vilifying of O.J. Simpson.

O.J. still has not been acquitted in the minds of those members of the public who point to spousal abuse and his assumed guilt.

It is a grave mistake for the Los Angeles district attorney's office to close this case and to allow the real criminals to go untried. If O.J. didn't kill his ex-wife and her friend, maybe drug dealers and their hit men did.

We must not ignore the dangers of further polarizing our society by continuing to vilify O.J.

Christine Walen S. Dartmouth, Mass.

Russia's tarnished past

The author of the opinion-page article ''West Must Listen to Russia on Partnership With NATO,'' Oct. 17, believes that NATO should ''have the good manners to listen and learn from the experience of the people on the receiving end of NATO's partnerships.'' I suggest that we review some other experiences.

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The Soviet Union was established as an antidemocratic, illegitimate regime early in this century. Under Stalin it murdered millions of its own citizens, destroyed the fabric of society and family, and attempted to liquidate the church. After World War II, it worked against American and Western interests across the globe.

Now the author thinks NATO should be restructured to accommodate Russian interests?

No doubt there are genuine interests shared between East and West, between the winner of the cold war and the losers. But I don't think any sense of justice or morality, even of ''good manners,'' compels us to compromise our goals and interests for the sake of the country that, until a few years ago, enslaved half of Europe and sought America's demise.

Steve D. Boilard Bowling Green, Ky.

Professor of Government

Western Kentucky University

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and sent to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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