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Iraq's Weapons: You Can't Prove a Negative

November 29, 2002

Re "Iraq Bears Burden of Proof," Nov. 26: Anyone with common sense or, at any rate, any insomniac who (like me) has read himself to sleep over the years with Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe detective novels can tell you that it is logically impossible to prove a negative. What could Iraq conceivably be expected to show to Hans Blix's inspectors to "prove" the absence of what it claims it does not have?

That the media report such rubbish without a trace of irony shows how shallow and uncritical they have become. The thinking public should demand at the very least that President Bush, before he takes the fateful step of an unprovoked attack against Iraq, prove to us, the American soldiers and taxpayers, that Iraq is indeed hiding weapons that are a threat to the U.S. If Bush cannot find positive proof of his accusation, any U.S. attack on Iraq would be illegal, and Bush has no right to commit our country to a course of international banditry, especially because it would alienate many of the very nations we need at our side in the coming years in our fight against terror.

Thomas Milo Somers

Fallbrook

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While it is laudable that Blix wants to prove that Saddam Hussein has no weapons of mass destruction, and that The Times so informs its readers, it might be instructive to revisit freshman logic or even high school geometry: One cannot "prove" a negative.

Dave Cavena

Glendora

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After reading "The Military's New War of Words" (Opinion, Nov. 24), I felt vindicated that there is confirmation that our government is trying to brainwash us that we have nothing to fear but Hussein. The mantra of "weapons of mass destruction" has succeeded in scaring the average person to a state of paranoia. It is disturbing that our leaders have manipulated the media to focus on Iraq instead of the sorry state of our economy and the crisis of the global economy. What happened with the investigations of corporate fraud and the prosecuting of Enron executives?

We punish a guy for stealing a bike and let all these corporate crooks fleece their companies and cheat hard-working people. And to think that there are intelligent people who believe we should change the regime in Iraq so that we can export our corporate democracy. Every time I get a statement from my stock portfolio I cry. Then I get angry and, recalling a phrase from the movie "Network," I yell: I am mad as hell and cannot take it anymore!

Gabriella Kolias

Placentia

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