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THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TRUCE AND A TREATY

A recent editorial in The News, "Rep. Quinn's land mine bill deserves a chance," brings into question for serious consideration and national debate the purpose and use of the U.S. military in the next century.

The editorial's underlyinglogic is to use the dove-hawk formula of the pre-World War II era. Dove (stay at home) to hawk (go abroad and fight) protect us, protect our friends, but do it with chivalry and honor. Fight but don't bite.

The 1990s post-Cold War dove-hawk-speak: The United States -- the world's only remaining superpower and mightiest nation -- should see the big picture, stop placating the Pentagon and assign its volunteer-recruit peacekeepers to global 21st century security.

The editorial's statement that "it strains credulity to contend that the United States could not safeguard South Korea" is classic dove-speak.

In 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea. The United States, the only superpower, led its peacekeepers under the U.N. flag in a police action to restore the sovereignty of South Korea at a cost of 58,000 U.S. soldiers -- the majority of whom were draftees.

In 1953, a truce was signed creating a demilitarized zone. But it is important to note that a truce is a suspended state of war -- it is not hostilities ended by a peace treaty.

Today, while South Korea is booming economically and North Korea is starving, 37,000 U.S. peacekeepers face a 1 million strong, unpredictable North Korean army at the demilitarized zone 27 miles from Seoul.

It strains credulity that The News editorially cannot or chooses not to distinguish between a truce in place and a peace treaty. The United States is eyeball to eyeball at thedemilitarized zone with North Korea in a state of suspended war 47 years and counting.

STEPHEN CIURZENSKI Buffalo

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