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War May Be the Question, but What Is the Answer?

September 17, 2002

I have felt in my gut that war with Iraq at this time to eliminate Saddam Hussein is premature and unconscionable. On Sept. 15, after reading "Scorched-Earth Tactics Ultimately Burn All of Us" by Eric Scigliano and "Same Man, Same Ground" by John Balzar (Commentary), I'm sure my gut is right.

Scigliano describes in detail the frightening environmental damage that will result to the whole world. Balzar, a Marine sergeant in Vietnam, saw the horrors of war firsthand; but the U.S. could not finish the job because of lousy decisions in Washington--which is now threatening to be a repeat. We have not even been able to flush out Osama bin Laden, the No. 1 terrorist enemy, who is apt to strike again when our military might is concentrated elsewhere.

Bee Shuster

Monrovia

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Re "Bin Laden's Henchmen Seen to Be Regrouping," Sept. 15: Of course they are regrouping. We should keep our focus on Bin Laden, because Al Qaeda is a clear and present danger. Let's take care of Bin Laden now and Iraq later.

Charles Payne

Northridge

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Rabbi Leonard Beerman says that "our experience in faith leads us to repudiate war as the method for problem solving" (Commentary, Sept. 16), but this is only a half-truth. Our experience--in faith or otherwise--has taught us to avoid war whenever possible, prosecute it justly when there is no other alternative and be good at it. I wonder if he would feel the same about the Allied liberation of death camps in 1945.

John A. D'Elia

Burbank

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I find incredible The Times' "doubting Thomas" position that more evidence is needed before the U.S. removes Iraq's Hussein and his regime ("No Case for Going In Alone," editorial, Sept. 13). The Times has taken the same containment position as Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and others, despite the fact that Hussein has violated, in one form or another, 16 U.N. resolutions since 1991. This Neville Chamberlain attitude only allows Hussein to further his transgressions and allows him more time to do his dirt.

In 1998, a number of individuals wanted the president to forcibly remove Hussein from power. The Democrats were looking for anything to change the scenery from impeachment and Monica Lewinsky. Today at The Hague there is a war crimes trial for former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The indictment and evidence against him can be compared to what is contained in the 16 U.N. resolutions that Hussein has violated. What's the difference? A president who honestly feels that [removing] Hussein may be the linchpin to peace in the Middle East? Or some talking heads who feel it is because our president is a Republican? Take your pick; both positions have a lot of truth to them.

Dennis M. Martin

Whittier

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It appears strange to me that Bush is spinning so much rhetoric on a war with Iraq when the real culprit is Saudi Arabia. That nation is a dictatorship equal to, or worse than, Iraq. Fifteen of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. The money that was keeping them active was from Saudi Arabia. The terrorists may not have weapons of mass destruction, but they didn't need them, did they? They used our stuff.

If Bush is so eager to be reelected, why doesn't he work on health care for all, drugs for seniors, the environment and all the things that make life a little more palatable? Our economy is falling apart, but he doesn't want to address it. I don't think a war with Iraq is the answer.

Sarah Goldowitz

Los Angeles

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