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No Mandate in Public's Views About Iraq War

September 04, 2002

Re "Public Still Backs Military Move on Iraq," Sept. 2: I am appalled and angered by the way the Times Poll is being used by news outlets to twist what is at best tenuous public support for a war on Iraq into a virtual mandate. The central question in your survey asked whether the respondent would support a decision to order U.S. troops into a ground war once such a decision had been made; you did not ask whether the respondent wants to see that happen. This is an extremely significant difference, given the typical American's attitude toward protesting a war once it has begun.

Your phrasing implies that we are bystanders who can simply agree or disagree with the president, not citizens who might participate in the process. And now your very small survey is being bandied about by the warmongers and will surely be cited for years as evidence that President Bush acted democratically. Nice job, folks!

Abe Fabrizio

Redondo Beach

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I am wondering who does these polls and who is polled. I have been a registered voter for 50 years and have never been polled. It seems to me that any parent with a son or daughter who would be put in harm's way would be dead set against a war. And it doesn't matter if the president goes it alone or has the approval of Congress. There is a huge difference of opinion among his own Cabinet, with the hawks pitted against the doves. Why doesn't Bush No. 2 have a heart-to-heart talk with Bush No. 1--Barbara, that is?

Jerry Baruch

Los Angeles

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I remember many of those who voted for Bush saying that he would have world-class advisors to help him decide tough international issues. Well, here we are, a year and a half into his presidency, and Vice President Dick Cheney advises one way to deal with Iraq and Secretary of State Colin Powell advises another (Sept. 2).

So who makes the tough decision? Obviously Bush, the most ill-prepared, in terms of intellectual depth and government experience, of any president of the 20th century. This former Texas governor, oil executive and baseball club owner also wants to change long-standing American policies regarding containment, use of nuclear weapons and preemptive war. At least the Republican Party statesmen, even including his own father, are sending slow-down signals. But where are the Democratic statesmen? Most are missing in action on these issues.

Carl Martz

Redlands

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As a die-hard Democrat, I didn't vote for Bush, yet I support his war plan to remove Saddam Hussein. While Hussein has not yet been directly linked to the Sept. 11 catastrophe, he is, metaphorically and clearly, another Sept. 11 waiting to happen. If we are determined never to suffer a catastrophe in the form of biological, chemical or radioactive terrorism, we must support Bush's decision to remove Hussein from power.

A war against Hussein will incur U.S. casualties and have unnerving impacts on the U.S. and global economies as a result of the disruption of the Saudi oil supply. But that's a small price to pay for a just war on terrorism to prevent another catastrophe from happening either on U.S. soil or anywhere else in the industrialized world.

One of the best ways to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 disaster is to show our courage by supporting Bush's latest phase of the war on terrorism.

Gilbert D. Chen

Redondo Beach

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