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Will Europe Respond to the Attack in Bali?

October 15, 2002

In the terror attack Oct. 12 in Bali, Indonesia, innocent citizens of France and other European countries were murdered. Given the horrific scale of this latest attack, one wonders if the Europeans will continue their accommodating attitudes toward the perpetrators of terror.

Will they continue self-flagellating teach-ins about the evils of their own cultures to understand why they are hated? Will they continue to advocate appeasement of terror thugs in order to entice Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and the boys from Islamic Jihad to leave them alone? Will they continue to promote the sacrifice of Israel (remember the fate of Czechoslovakia in Munich 1938) to curry popularity with Arab chieftains?

Let's hope for change. Let's hope the Europeans look to America for guidance. Let's hope the heart and grit and resolve of America will continue to be a light unto nations.

Scott Abramson

San Mateo

*

I am struck by the coincidence of current events and your Sunday review of Daniel Ellsberg's new book, "Secrets." I am reminded of an earlier administration's lie that got Congress to commit us to the Vietnam War. Today's administration tells us of Iraq's ties to Al Qaeda because of a meeting in Prague, the account of which was later discredited and never confirmed, and the fact that an Al Qaeda leader escaped Afghanistan and wound up getting medical aid in Baghdad. Of course, they tell us there is much more evidence, but they can't share it with us for security reasons.

The CIA complains that this administration is pressuring it to distort intelligence to provide information to back up our intellectual stampede to war. Our California representatives' mail is grossly oriented toward restraint, but some of them back the president. Political polls say we don't want to go it alone.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld demands that we trust the members of the administration because they know what they are doing and we don't and we can't be trusted with information. The new political correctness is to back the president or you are not patriotic. Where is the new Ellsberg now that we need him?

David Sherman

Santa Clarita

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I don't understand why you devote so much space on your otherwise thoughtful editorial page to the Ramirez cartoons. Sunday's cartoon implying that Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks is particularly insipid. Al Qaeda terrorists probably despise the idea of a secular dictator in an Arab country and welcome the coming bloodbath and installation of an oil puppet in Iraq. It can only help their cause in the long run, distance the U.S. even more from the rest of the world and reveal the true intentions of the current oil-crony regime much more clearly than they ever could.

David Lake

Camarillo

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"The Wrong Resolution" (editorial, Oct. 11) is a dogmatic view that dismisses a potentially awesome threat to the nation. The very reason the resolution was passed with strong bipartisan support is not because the entire Congress has suddenly become aligned with the president. It passed because Congress came to grips with the stark realization that restraint could result in a catastrophe for our nation.

The guiding principle of acting defensively has served our nation well in the past. During the Cold War we were also shielded by the deterrent of "mutual assured destruction." This no longer applies.

Congress may have demonstrated wisdom in its decision that current doctrine in the world of terrorism may be ineffective in protecting the U.S. from an attack.

William Goldman

Palos Verdes Estates

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In an Oct. 13 letter, a writer posits that a war with Iraq would result in "thousands of dead Iraqis" and continues, "I am not going to shed any tears for dead Iraqi civilians." I can only hope that she is being sarcastic. For how can anyone fail to shed tears for the dead of any war? Human life is, or should be, very precious, and each person who dies in a war is a source of grief. It does not matter whether a person is a soldier or civilian, or what his nationality is or his religion -- whoever dies in war is one of us. One of the human race.

Susan Coddington

Pacific Palisades

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