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Many Oppose U.S. Action Against Iraq

October 23, 2002

In "Winning Hearts and Minds of the Europeans," (Opinion, Oct. 20), Seth Gitell assures himself smugly: "I felt I had done something of at least partial value by articulating the American point of view."

Let's get one thing straight. This paranoid, aggressive, confrontational foreign policy that sees a military solution to every problem is not "the American point of view" but rather the view of the Bush administration.

The subtext of Gitell's piece, clearly, is that if you do not endorse George W. Bush's foreign policy you are un-American. I, along with the tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands who will take to the streets Oct. 26 (to demonstrate our adamant opposition to the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country), take offense to that charge.

Poll after poll shows Americans to be deeply ambivalent about the prospect of a unilateral invasion in the absence of any U.N. mandate.

Before going off to "win the hearts and minds" of the Europeans, Gitell should acknowledge that millions of hearts and minds will have to be won on this side of the Atlantic first. Until the Bush administration proves that Iraq, which has been successfully contained for over a decade, poses some clear and present danger to the U.S., this invasion will be remembered above all for its heartlessness and mindlessness.

Charles Hammond

Irvine

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Re "Preventive Attacks Fail Test of History," Opinion, Oct. 20: There is no evidence that Saddam Hussein is susceptible to Western influence. To threats, yes. To persuasion by reason, no. There is ample evidence that U.S. intervention in South Vietnam, however ill advised, however ill directed, did win time for self-strengthening in Southeast Asia and the end of Maoist aggressiveness in China, thus helping to prevent the rest of the region's sharing the bloodbath of Cambodia.

Robert Elegant

Perugia, Italy

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I am shocked by Michael Ramirez's Oct. 20 editorial cartoon. Implying that a very reasonable U.N. resolution could have the same consequences for France and the world as the appeasement policy toward Hitler in the 1930s is ridiculous. Comparing today's Iraq and its two-bit despot, Hussein, to Hitler's Germany shows a poor knowledge of history. Iraq is a poor, divided country with low scientific and industrial skills. Hitler's Germany was a scientific and industrial powerhouse. Add to this the Germanic sense of discipline and organization and you got an almost invincible war machine. Had France's enemy been Iraq, France would have won the war in May 1940.

Francois Friedmann

Manhattan Beach

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