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How Many Will Die in War?

October 12, 2002

Re "How Many Sons and Daughters Will Die?" Commentary, Oct. 6: Arianna Huffington is so right on target. I wonder how people would answer the question of how many American body bags they are willing to accept for the removal of Saddam Hussein. How many sons, husbands, fathers are they willing to sacrifice to remove Hussein? How many dead, innocent Iraqi civilians are an acceptable amount to get rid of Hussein? When people are polled, they should be asked about numbers, not just about whether should we go and get him.

How many middle-class, comfortable Americans are ready to sacrifice their lives to take on Hussein? Or are they just willing to send our troops as sacrificial lambs to their slaughter?

Benny Wasserman

La Palma

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Once again Huffington comes right to the point and hits the nail on the head. Before the American people decide whether or not to support a war on Iraq, we should be given a realistic estimate of how many American lives might be lost. This should include not only casualties among the military but also the estimated number of U.S. civilians who might die if a desperate Hussein, defeated, captured, with nothing to lose, issues an order to his allies and supporters to let loose with every lethal weapon available.

So far I have seen no such figures. We should face the possibility of the worst scenario imaginable before we make such a momentous decision.

Louise D. Lillard

Los Angeles

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It sounds as though Huffington makes more of a case for an invasion of Iraq. Let's review her commentary: Hussein is willing to use biological weapons if the U.S. invades Iraq, the casualty count could be high and the administration has not advised the citizenry of this. Hussein also refuses to let U.N. weapon inspectors adequately check for biological and nuclear weaponry, he's lobbed Scud missiles into Israel and set fire to vast oil fields while we defended Kuwait, and he has used poison gas to kill his own people.

So, Huffington makes a point that it's important to gauge consequences, and I agree, but there are costs to safety and freedom. If Hussein is so dangerous, what is the world supposed to do--nothing? Unfortunately, her inability to take a stand on someone who is so obviously dangerous to the safety of the free world makes me thankful that we have an administration that will take that stand.

Greg Belluomini

Hawthorne

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Huffington wonders why reporters have not questioned Bush about how many American soldiers might come back in body bags from his war on Iraq. This is another reason why our president finds plenty of time for fund-raising appearances in front of cheering fans but avoids open press conferences where he might be confronted with tough questions from skeptical reporters.

June Maguire

Mission Viejo

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Re Huffington's column: It took Mark Twain but seven words as he paraphrased Benjamin Disraeli, saying, "There are lies, damn lies and statistics." And I do believe that was right after he said, "Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Robert Loveridge

North Hollywood

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