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Funding Human-Rights Abuses

The editorial ``Salvador Peace Talks,'' Sept. 20, analyzes the hopes and possibilities for successful negotiations between the Salvadoran government and the Farabundo Mart'i National Liberation Front (FMLN). How easy it is to forget the realities that spawned El Salvador's ugly war. How easy to ignore the fact that most of the 70,000 dead were victims of the government's military and para-military death squads. This editorial gives the impression that the United States is an impartial bystander, ignoring the responsibility that it has for strengthening the hand of the intransigent military establishment. Anticommunist paranoia conceived this abortive chapter in the history of US foreign policy. Surely the time has come to relieve ourselves and the people of El Salvador of this noxious burden.

The US should notify the government and military of El Salvador that it is no longer willing to pay for El Salvador's human-rights abuses. If done, the chances for peace would rise dramatically. John M. Gaffin, Myers Flat, Calif.

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Uninvited house guests The article ``Contras in Honduras Stretch Country's Resources, Patience,'' Sept. 19, highlights one of the most shameful aspects of the US contra initiative - imposing upon the civilian population the housing of US mercenaries.

The third amendment to the US Constitution prohibits peacetime quartering of soldiers in civilian homes without the consent of the owner. It seems contrary to this law that the US quarters its mercenaries on the private property of Honduran civilians or their villages. The democratic Honduran government has compromised its own sovereignty and abdicated its responsibility to its citizens for US aid. F.Norman Higgs, Bay City, Mich.