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U.S. Responsibilities After a Defeat of Iraq

October 30, 2002

Daniel Serwer makes valid points in his Oct. 28 commentary ("Victory Is Just the Beginning") about the responsibilities of an invader to those invaded. No "moral" justification for an invasion can erase the destruction of life, property and potential. The U.S. recognized this obligation in the creation of the Marshall Plan after World War II.

The Bush administration has given no indication, despite numerous opportunities, that it has any plan for fulfilling our responsibilities following an invasion of Iraq. Indeed, the administration's dismal performance in that regard in Afghanistan would indicate that neglect or exploitation (the proposed pipeline) is the only "plan." This is just one of many reasons I vehemently oppose war with Iraq.

Gail Fenelon

Santa Barbara

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Re "Restraint Saved the Day in 1962," Opinion, Oct. 27:

We've been practicing restraint for the past 11 years. We've had a quarantine (sanctions) in place for the last 11 years. Saddam Hussein (with some help from our friends and enemies) has evaded that quarantine for the past 11 years. It's past time for Plan B. What does Ann Louise Bardach suppose President Kennedy would have done if the Soviets had tried to run the blockade?

Kyda Sylvester

Auburn, Calif.

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What is happening in the U.S.? On Sunday, The Times compared the Cuban missile crisis to our present standoff with Iraq. The difference is clearly in the quality of the leadership. We were fortunate enough to have had leaders who did not resort to infantile name-calling and dehumanizing verbiage to incite the easily misled public with glib jingoism, as is now the case. The public needs clear information, facts and not stirred emotions. We have been lied to through Vietnam and the Gulf War. Our veterans have been ill treated by our own government as a result of both engagements, and the public has been repeatedly misled. It is time the U.S. government begins to respect those it serves, with facts and verifiable information so the public can make informed and reasoned decisions. We need to be able to trust those in charge of our security, and the only way to achieve this is with honest disclosure and open discussion. It is reckless disregard of our democratic process to do anything less.

Betty L. Seidmon

Los Angeles

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Re "Peering Into Darkness," Commentary, Oct. 27: Speaking out against going to war with Iraq has nothing to do with cowardice or bravery, it's about what's morally right and wrong. Fortunately, most Americans are able to distinguish between the two and don't view waging war against a much smaller Third World country as a test of their manhood. It would be easy for the average American to go about daily life while his tax dollars were being spent turning Iraqi men, women and children to dust.

Donn Greer

Inglewood

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