In response to:

Vietnam from the February 17, 1966 issue

To the Editors:

In his letter of argument with Irving Howe (February 17) John P. Roche refers to the killing of “innocent people” as a possible reason for deploring the war in Vietnam. That adjective has been cropping up frequently in the conversation of people who dislike what we are now doing in Vietnam, but who want to reserve the right to support some future war—one, presumably, that would be directed toward the slaughter of the guilty. Does history disclose such a war? Would anyone care to outline the logistics by which it might be accomplished?

I realize that Mr. Roche was using a cliché of the times, and with no ulterior purpose; but a society is known by the clichés it coins. Our fathers, for example, were eloquent in their statements of charitable intention toward the “deserving poor.”

Robert Hatch

New York City

This Issue

March 31, 1966