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A war short on leadership I agree with columnist Godfrey Sperling, and with Zbigniew Brzezinski, that the president is obligated to inform and educate the American public on the issues regarding our involvement in Kosovo ("What kind of war is this?" May 18).

Neither the president nor our elected representatives have done their jobs. I have attempted to follow the issues from the beginning, but have yet to see anything from our government that would describe a clear and coherent policy toward this conflict. It is painfully clear that without the involvement of ground forces, our (American and NATO) policies and actions will be dictated by public opinion and not strategic decisions.

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An overwhelming body of evidence proves the futility of an exclusive air campaign and that the Serbs have mastered the "information campaign." The foreign and mostly American news agencies allowed in Belgrade dictate the American-led NATO air campaign more than either Prime Minister Blair or President Clinton by their coverage of NATO's mistakes. CNN does not travel in Kosovo to film villages burned by Serbian forces, but to film villages burned by NATO. The conclusion from this is that the news organizations are being used by the Serbs for their own ends.

The fear of American dead also sends the message to the Kosovars that America does not think they are worth the price. To mitigate our involvement, some of our elected representatives wish to arm the Kosovo Liberation Army and let them do their own fighting. We need only to look at the Bay of Pigs, or "Vietnamization," to see how that will end.

Our reluctance to get involved is perfectly clear not only to our allies and the Kosovars, but also to Slobodan Milosevic. He knows that public opinion will bring a quicker end to NATO's involvement in Kosovo than military might.

The abject lack of American leadership in this campaign will quite possibly lead to the failure of it to reach its end goals; not because of insufficient military power but insufficient leadership. It is unfortunate that a president who avoided involvement in Vietnam has also avoided learning the lessons of Vietnam.

J. M. Mount, Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Does he really 'feel our pain'? After reading Daniel Schorr's encomium to the one who "feels our pain" ("Unscripted Clinton," May 7), I found myself wondering how much of what our president says he remembers from his youth - the cruel treatment he suffered as a child - really happened.

I couldn't help thinking how faulty his memory has been in the past, to wit: the black church burnings so indelibly etched into his memory -burnings that never happened in those years.

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Mr. Clinton's penchant for whoppers is so notable that I suspect much of what Mr. Schorr celebrates might well be taken with a grain of salt.

George S. Rigby Jr, Stroudsburg, Pa.

This article single-handedly redeems our president, for so many months and years the object of calumny and ill will.

"I feel your pain" now seems to have a reality and relevant quality - denoting a compassionate man whose humanity is able to transcend the traps and pitfalls of high office.

Now we are able to see the feeling and understanding man behind the facade of office.

I looked up the slang word "dissed" in the dictionary and found that, in making a verb out of a noun, our younger generation has helped us realize what the true meaning of "dishonor" is.

James S. Best, Tucson, Ariz.

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