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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

United Nations' Record of Inaction in Emergencies

November 03, 2002

"To Some, Real Threat Is U.S." (Oct. 30) characterizes the debate within the halls of the United Nations regarding Iraq as a conflict between a stubborn, unilateralist U.S. and a reasonable and sensible Security Council. Such a characterization is misleading and ignores the many instances that the Security Council has failed to live up to its responsibilities.

Not only did it tolerate the material breaches by the Iraqis of numerous Security Council resolutions passed in the wake of the Gulf War, it ignominiously acquiesced in the departure of weapons inspectors from Iraq in 1998.

To think that the French proposal, with its provision for a second round of discussions in the event of a failure of the new inspections process, will promote the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction completely ignores all the evidence of the last 11 years. There have been instances in the recent past where no one acted in the face of a regional emergency (the genocide in Rwanda) and where a U.S.-led coalition acted without the explicit backing of the U.N. (ethnic cleansing in Kosovo). Those who insist on U.N. approval for any use of force will have to answer for their complicity in the deaths of innocents condemned by inaction.

Richard M. Rasiej

Calabasas

*

Bravo! Once again The Times has the courage to say it like it is. Will the arrogance of the Bush administration never cease? If our country supercedes international law, what hope is there for the world? It opens the door to any country with weapons of mass destruction (of which we are a prime example) to violate such laws and act beyond all civilized behavior.

What gives the U.S. the right to decide on a preemptive strike against any other nation with only a suspicion, without full evidence that there is a threat to the world or to us? This bullying attitude on the part of the Bush administration can only inflame those who already see the U.S. as the enemy -- rich, smug and immoral. Not in my name will President Bush or even the go-along Congress take military action against Iraq.

Peggy Aylsworth Levine

Santa Monica

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Instead of spending our money on the financial costs of a war on Iraq, we could spend that same amount on ensuring that the citizens of Iraq have clothes to wear, food to eat, medicine for their illnesses, education for their children and the like. In exchange, Saddam Hussein could give up his nuclear and chemical weapons. We would be known for our compassion.

Bill Gibson

Temple City

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