I must take vigorous exception to Tom Sawyer's (Letters, April 1-7) logic in his criticism of Leo White's commentary “Our Wrath is Righteous — But Is it Right?”

While Mr. Sawyer was disgusted with Mr. White's analogy, I think he'll find himself in opposition to our Pope John Paul II who has stated, “I insist on repeating clearly to all, once again, that no one may kill in God's name, recalling our brothers and sisters in Iraq, living under a pitiless embargo. … The weak and the innocent cannot pay for mistakes for which they are not responsible.”

What Mr. Sawyer is apparently defending is an approach which the Catholic Church has consistently denounced as evil, that is, Proportionalism — or, put another way, “Let us do evil so that good may result.”

Let me remind Mr. Sawyer that as of 1997, the UNICEF study reported that 1.2 million had died as a result of the embargo, the majority of whom were children under the age of 5. This is what our Holy Father (along with the bishops) calls killing the innocent. As for his comparison with the U.S.S.R, there may have been economic pressure there but there wasn't an all-out sanctioning causing the death of people.

Secondly, there are no signs that the sanctions are working toward their desired end. If anything, they seem to be strengthening the people's commitment to Saddam Hussein, viewing him as a victim, along with themselves, of a common enemy.

The comparison with rogue bands in Africa intercepting convoys of food as a point against sending aid to Iraq is a bad argument. By this line of logic we should-n't attempt to help the sick and starving in any troubled nation because there is no guarantee that the goods will reach their destination.

Mr. Sawyer's point on welfare nations building up their military with bad intentions is well taken. Nations’ concern for self-defense against a dictator is legitimate and the solution is a complex one, but we must pray that our leaders will find a just solution. We must staunchly reject any approach that employs sin as a means to an end.

JIM FLOOD

Baltimore