Dear editor,

There is no story on East Timor that can be complete without some context about how the “Greek Tragedy” came to be. The role of the United States has been left out of Pappu’s column [November 26] and it provides the best place from which to see how genocide has been perpetrated against the people of East Timor.

In 1975, when Indonesia invaded East Timor, the United States had given tacit approval for the invasion with these words from the U.S. State Dept., “Be quick and don’t use our weapons.” Within one month 60,000 people were dead and U.S. weapons, which accounted for 90 percent of weapons used in the invasion, began to flow to the Indonesian invaders.

In the UN, the United States played a role too. It insured that no action would be taken after the Security Council voted for Indonesia to remove its troops “without delay.”

In April 1999, U.S. General Blair, charged with the duty of telling Gen. Wiranto of Indonesia to shut down the militias, failed his duty and in fact admonished Wiranto with a promise of continued U.S. training of Indonesian troops. This is what Nairn’s talk will be about.

Pappu’s column would be well rounded if these facts were included in his reporting on East Timor. Otherwise, Americans will risk losing a link to our past that is so important if we are to claim a clean conscience.

Matebian Galloway