To the editors:

Thank you for your article on the revolutionary war in Peru (“Defender of the Shining Path,” January 22). Isn’t it great that not everyone on the planet embraces the slash-and-grab of American-style capitalism?

Back in the early 60s, the Vietnamese guerrillas were demonized in the mainstream media–just like the Shining Path are today. Thanks to the alternative press, we later learned that the atrocity stories were part of an official U.S. government campaign of disinformation. The lies were intended to get public support for U.S. intervention. In fact, it was the CIA, not the Vietcong, who ran opium out of the Golden Triangle and it was the American “Operation Phoenix,” not the peasant guerrillas, who massacred thousands of village activists.

Everything I’ve read about Peru today convinces me that the revolutionaries there are targeted by a similar disinformation campaign. Hopefully, this time truth will come out before a U.S. invasion costs hundreds of thousands of lives.

One reader, writing in your letters column, later called Bill Martin “an obvious pseudopolitical, neo-coffeehouse Marxist” [February 5]. I dunno–in my book, a Maoist professor who travels into Peru’s police state and risks torture from Fujimori’s secret police, all to save the life of a revolutionary leader. . . . Well, that doesn’t sound like armchair pseudopolitics to me. Here’s to you, Bill! You’re the liveliest spark Chicago leftism has produced in a lo-o-o-o-ong time. May you start your prairie fire.

Steven Woodard

Rogers Park