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Give Cheney a Break: Iraq Presents a Real Problem

September 06, 2002

Robert Scheer goes too far with his scandal-mongering insinuations in "Dick Cheney's Nightmare of Peace" (Commentary, Sept. 3). He insinuates that Cheney sold his shares of Halliburton to cash out "after sending Halliburton down the road to possible bankruptcy." Cheney was forced to sell his shares before he could accept public office as the vice president. The "possible bankruptcy" Scheer refers to concerns a $600-million liability over the next 15 years for worker asbestos injuries. Halliburton's current assets are more than $5 billion.

Scheer criminalizes Cheney for accounting practices at Halliburton and insinuates that he must be guilty because the SEC is investigating and a "conservative" organization called Judicial Watch charged that "Cheney broke the law." The issue in question is an accounting change made during Cheney's watch that recorded uncollected debts as revenue, a practice used throughout the Fortune 500.

What is really appalling, however, is Scheer's underlying argument that Cheney and the administration want to go to war with Iraq merely to divert attention from the recession in America. The administration is facing a difficult problem in dealing with Iraq, and while a preemptive strike against Saddam Hussein might not be in our best interest, accusing the White House of risking war to avoid attention is slanderous. I am tired of people like Scheer disparaging the vice president without offering any insight into the problems facing our country or how to deal with them.

Mike Hohman

Fountain Valley

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I couldn't disagree with Scheer more, and I'm on the left. We don't have the time or money to investigate Cheney's (perhaps) illegal moves as CEO of Halliburton. We spent it investigating President Clinton, driving the focus away from the real issues--terrorists both inside and outside of the boardroom.

We have real issues to fight. Let Ken Lay and Cheney off; they probably deserved the money.

Ken Pace

Laguna Beach

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Isn't it fascinating how the president's and vice president's sudden focus on a war with Iraq has driven all talk of Harken and Halliburton from the papers?

Arthur Yuwiler

Woodland Hills

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Re "U.S. Looking at Use of 'Coercive Inspections,' " Sept. 4: So now "coercive inspections" has become the newest euphemism to justify the preemptive strike that will initiate a "regime change" in Iraq. Better to call it the Big Bad Wolf plan. Armed to the teeth, we knock on Hussein's door, knowing full well he'd never be crazy enough to let us in, and then we huff and puff and blow his house down. Great idea, unless the House of Iraq is made of bricks.

Michael Duffy

Simi Valley

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This Vietnam combat veteran wants you and others who take these polls with trick questions to take a real poll about a war with Iraq ("Public Still Backs Military Move on Iraq," Sept. 2).

Like maybe ask 18-to-25-year-olds: Will you enlist and go fight? Are you ready for the draft to be activated? Then ask all those you asked about supporting a war if they will also enlist if they are of age. Once you start asking the right questions about another dirty little war, then I guarantee you the "support" will be overwhelmingly against.

Thomas Young

Culver City

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