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Bush Asks Congress for First-Strike Authority

October 10, 2002

President Bush has abandoned the Kyoto Protocol, which strives to alleviate global pollution; turned Nevada's Yucca Mountain into our country's nuclear waste dump; converted our budget surplus into a deficit with a $300 tax refund, which had no impact whatsoever on our economy; wants to tap into Alaska's North Slope for oil that won't make a bit of difference in our reliance on foreign crude; abandons his own resolve by consulting with his father on more issues each day; ignores the increasing unemployment and crashing economy; somehow declared overnight a new enemy, switching from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein without anyone asking why; and now is bringing us to the brink of a major war while asking Congress for dictator-like control over wartime decision-making.

Can somebody please remind me why I voted for this guy?

Paul Argyropoulos

Valley Village


After 9/11, not reckoning with Hussein would be the equivalent of the U.S. during World War II not reckoning with Germany and Italy after being attacked at Pearl Harbor by only Japan. Back then, the "greatest generation" of Americans had no problem realizing whom they were at war with. Will it take yet another horrendous act from the groups and countries sworn to our destruction before this generation of Americans is willing to follow in the heroic footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers?

Stephen Wagner



Whatever happened to capturing and punishing Bin Laden? Or is Hussein just easier to find?

Bob Burris



On Oct. 4, Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) gave a wonderful, succinct speech on why the Congress should resist giving this president any more power than he already has. We must resist any effort on the part of this administration to stampede Congress into giving him extraordinary power to begin a war without the consent of the people. As Byrd pointed out, the ramifications involving future administrations are mind-boggling.

The war drum beats on as we are warned time after time the boogeyman is going to get us. But sometimes I wonder who the real boogeyman is.

Bobbi Corbett

San Clemente


I do not like Hussein. I would be delighted if he choked on a bone. However, there are several other persons, closer to home, who have through ignorance or occasional malice harmed me in the past and who could possibly harm me again. I do not have the right to unilaterally take them out. And that is a good thing. For if I had that right, so would all other individuals have the right to take drastic, preemptive action against their perceived enemies. The result would be lawlessness and chaos.

There has always been and always will be danger in the world. But we must not give in to fear, and the preemptive strike is a policy of fear. It will not provide us with a safer world, but with a more dangerous and lawless one in which fear drives all to commit acts of preemptive aggression.

Helen Maurer

Mission Viejo


In commenting on the possible reactions of other countries to the implementation of the Bush Doctrine of striking first (Commentary, Oct. 8), James Pinkerton noted that "future historians will be studying [Bush's] words closely." If other powerful countries use the Bush Doctrine, and perhaps nuclear weapons, to deal with perceived threats, the world, not the Middle East, will be a hot spot. This leads one to ask the question: What future historians?

William Gray

Long Beach


Christopher Layne's (Opinion, Oct. 6) preoccupation with "The Power Paradox"--the baneful effects of America's menacing hegemony--underestimates a salient lesson of history. Forget about the inevitable "blowback" from America's "geopolitical preeminence"; wait till you see the catastrophic implosion that occurs when America abrogates its beneficent responsibility in stabilizing an increasingly volatile world. The original "offensive realist," Winston Churchill, warned us against a government "decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent."

D. Paul Thomas


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