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Baker on U.S. Rebuilding Iraq After War

February 17, 1991

In his commentary ("Will There Be Anything Left to Nuke?" Column Left, Feb. 7), Alexander Cockburn frets over the possibility of U.S. use of nuclear weapons in the Persian Gulf, while also condemning the targeting of non-military assets in Iraq and Kuwait.

What Cockburn fails to understand is that during wartime the norms and conventions of a civilized society must be modified or even curtailed in order to assure victory. Power plants, bridges and bus terminals are just as worthy of targeting as airfields, tanks and troops if they can be used to further the enemy's cause. Even schools and mosques should not be excluded from attack if they are proven to be protecting troops or missiles. War is not a boxing match; it's a street fight.

Nuclear weapons will not be used against Iraq simply because they will not be needed. If, in the end, Iraq is indeed bombed back into the 19th Century, the leaders of this xenophobic nation will have only their own aggressive inclinations to blame.

SCOTT BUEHNER, Newport Beach

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