Walter Russell Mead's "A Bullish Diplomacy" (Opinion, March 17) was a prime example of the sort of American blindness that is our principal problem with respect to the Muslim world in this century and the last. He seems to think, in the teeth of world opinion as witnessed in the compendium of the foreign press on Page 3 in the same section, that the opposition to our proposed adventures in Iraq is all a sham and that when the bombs start to fall, "a reasonable degree of support from a reasonable number of key allies" will magically materialize. It won't. The Arabs are adamant on that point--take, for example, the front-page interview with King Abdullah of Jordan. And no one but the English in Europe is being even polite about the Bush administration's drumbeat for war in the Middle East.
Mead thinks that the root cause of terrorism in the Middle East is Iraq, which accords well with the Bush-Cheney doctrine of the evil axis but totally misses the point that any number of Middle Eastern commentators and politicians make. The root cause is the unquestioning American support for the brutal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the murder of their people. Until someone in the American government says publicly that Ariel Sharon is killing innocents in an unjust war of extinction against Muslim people in what used to be their land, no one in the Middle East or Europe will help us in our ambitions to oust Saddam Hussein. Vice President Cheney has been confronted with the truth of the situation in the Middle East, and he would do well to bring that truth home to Washington.
Palos Verdes Estates
Re Mead's column: I am pleased to learn that the United States' escalating global rampage is being conducted to bring safety and freedom to the world. The "safety" is likely being achieved through murdering thousands in Afghanistan, as well as threatening preemptive nuclear attacks, while the "freedom" is no doubt being assured by eliminating our constitutionally protected civil liberties. War is peace. Slavery is freedom. Orwell would be laughing.
Just as worldwide pundits and politicians reach for "unilateral" to describe U.S. foreign policy, so does this reader reach for that same modifier to praise the staunch objectivity and stoic foresight of Mead's fine article.
Re "Nuclear Fears Abound," Opinion, March 17: Every time I open the newspaper and read of the latest Bush administration posturing, I cringe. Now it seems that the only thing the world really has to fear is the United States' nuclear arsenal, which, by the time Bush is done, will be huge. They have every right to be concerned.
We Americans seemingly had few qualms about dropping the atom bomb on the Japanese and, given this administration's views, we would have even fewer. In his rush to rid the world of those "bad guys," Bush seems to forget that the terrorists struck at the heart of this country not with bombs but with our own airplanes. Dropping a few nuclear bombs on one or two "axis of evil" countries will probably not solve an escalating situation but will create an ever-expanding war against what will be perceived as American aggression. This sounds like the old bumper sticker: "He who dies with the most (nuclear) toys wins." The question is . . . wins what?
Re "New Nuclear Policy Makes for a Safer World," Commentary, March 18: Like snake oil salesmen in the past, Barry Blechman hawks his own brand of salve with soothing-sounding gibberish in his article. The new nuke policy is good, he says, because it "would move the U.S. away from a single, integrated, operational plan for nuclear attacks to 'capabilities-based targeting.' " Gee, I feel better already!
This new nuke policy recognizes that Russia is no longer our enemy, he swoons. But wait a minute! "U.S. Works Up Plan for Using Nuclear Arms" (March 9) mentions that the secret report given to Congress by the Pentagon states: "The Pentagon needs to be prepared to use nuclear weapons against China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria."
Snake oil salesmen talk a good game, but who wants to swallow their wares? Not me, that's for sure.