To the Editors of The Crimson:
When reading Brian Kladko's editorial of April 27 entitled "Forgiving. But Not Forgetting," I noticed two errors which should be pointed out.
The first is factual Mr. Kladko suggests that President Reagan and Helmut Kohl visit the city of Dresden as an alternative to the cemetery at Buburg. As I also have read Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, including the chapter in which Kladko found the passage from David Irving's book on Dresden, I too know all about the horror of the Dresden fire-bombing. But as I read the book a little more carefully than Mr. Kladko apparently did. I noticed that in Chapter One Vonnegut describes the difficulties involved in visiting Dresden today, because it is in East Germany. Mr. Kladko's poor reading habits could have been excused if he had bothered to look at a map, which would have shown him that Dresdon's position, "98 miles south of Berlin" as he says place it close to the Czech border, deep in Warsaw Pact territory Although a ceremony at Dresden recognizing the alliances between the United Germany, and East Germany would be welcome. I don't think we can expect it to happen in this decade.
Mr Kladko's second error is not quite as silly. In passing, he claims that although the German soldiers of World War II did not act on as solid a moral basis as our own troops in that conflict, their position was comparable to that of the American soldiers who fought the Vietnam War. Both groups, he says, were forced by the draft or by duty to fight "aggressive, immoral ways." This comparison is an insult to history and to the soldiers who fought in Indochina. To the soldiers of the time, North Vietnamese Communists were totalitarian aggressors who had to be stopped, just as the Nazis were. Whether they were justified in this view is a question of history. The Vietnam War was misguided, wasteful in some cases conducted with criminal brutality, and in the end essentially futile, but in no way can anyone compare the American troops there to the Nazis. One group tonight to save a country, the other to enslave all Europe. That both were misguided cannot make them the same. Peter D. Sagal '87