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Alternatives to Tactical Nuclear Weapons

July 25, 2002

Re "Perilous Nuclear Tunnel Vision," Commentary, July 21:

Is it possible I got the article by Michael Levi and Theresa Hitchens right? Their issue is not with the concept of President Bush's jihad against the evil Iraqis. Nor do they challenge the concept of using nuclear weapons in a sort of preventive way to keep others from using them. No, their argument is that we have such other really refined weapons for killing at a distance that we should try those first and keep the ultimate scare tactic (the nukes) until we really need it.

We see the aftermath of war in Afghanistan through the pages of The Times. Boys as sex slaves. Women imprisoned for leaving abusive husbands. Food promised and not delivered by the U.S. and other governments. Can we really think it will be a favor to Iraqi citizens to "liberate" their country, leaving nuclear fallout, starvation, death and chaos behind us? If there are chemical and biological weapons and our bombs hit them, will the cloud of chemicals dispersed into the area win friends and allies for us in the Middle East? How did we get on this track anyhow? And how do we get off it?

Kathy Crandall

Granada Hills

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Thank you for publishing Levi and Hitchens' piece on the alternatives to nuclear assault on Iraq's underground bunkers. As the House and Senate prepare to fight over whether to include $15.5 million for the development of nuclear "bunker busters," it is important that the public know that there are more reliable alternatives that do not blur the distinction between conventional and nuclear war.

We cannot afford to return to the Cold War fallacy that the only way to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction is with more weapons of mass destruction.

Nathan Britton

Los Angeles

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