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It's Not Unpatriotic to Question Going to War

October 01, 2002

In "Containment Has Run Its Course" (Opinion, Sept. 29), Robert Lieber mouths all the usual platitudes about Saddam Hussein being a dangerous man and jumps to the simplistic conclusion that we've just got to do something forceful. Like President Bush, he doesn't even try to answer the questions that need to be answered before starting another shooting war: Why must we escalate to maximum force rather than even attempt more inspections? What assurance is there that a "changed" regime in Iraq would be any better than the present one? And at what cost in lives, money and lost alliances around the world?

Why don't we talk about the U.S.' sorry history of helping men become monsters and then saying, "There's a monster! Better take him out"? We allowed Manuel Noriega to be a drug-running thug until he became inconvenient; then the elder Bush declared, "A drug-running thug! Take him out!" We trained Osama bin Laden. We helped Hussein fight Iran though we knew he was using poison gas. Bush would have us live in the comfortable myth of white hats and black hats, good versus evil, studiously overlooking our government's role in raising the evil.

Jeremy Anderson

Redlands

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I am outraged at the Michael Ramirez cartoon of Sept. 27 ("The tail gunner," Commentary) depicting Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) as a tail gunner shooting at Bush.

I am neither "pro" nor "anti" our president. I am strongly pro our country, our Constitution, our world and peace. How dare the cartoonist suggest that senatorial debate on a subject so grave should not take place? It is the essence of how we choose to live and the reason that our form of government has thrived and will continue to thrive.

Maybe Congress will give the president the powers he is requesting, but for God's sake let them talk about it and weigh the pros and cons and then make their decision. And let's not attempt to stifle reason and opposition.

Robert Cushnir

Brentwood

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The Democrats lack credibility on Iraq. Many of the Democratic politicians who oppose meaningful action to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction are the same ones who opposed taking action against Iraq when it invaded Kuwait 11 years ago.

Had their advice been followed then, Iraq would today control Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states. It would also have atomic weapons as well as massive supplies of biological weapons. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.

Arthur Fisher

Los Angeles

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After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many Americans asked the question, "Why do they hate us?" A partial answer can be derived from the debate about invading Iraq. Pundits and politicians have discussed many of the consequences of an invasion, including American casualties, the necessity of occupying Iraq for years, the increased likelihood of terrorism and the effect on the stock market and oil prices. Yet hardly anyone mentions the Iraqis who will be killed.

During the Gulf War, the United States killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. This time we can expect the number of Iraqi dead to be even greater, since overthrowing Hussein will require invading Baghdad itself. Those whom we will kill have mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives.

So the answer to the question "Why do they hate us?" is this: because the price of gas is more important to Americans than the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis.

Brian Cluggish

San Diego

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