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Fear of Gamesmanship Pervades Debate on Iraq

September 20, 2002

Re "Senate to Vote on Iraq Resolution Before Election," Sept. 18: I have been a Democrat since first registering to vote. My first vote was cast for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I am ashamed to say I am a Democrat now and will think long and hard before casting my vote for a Democrat again, only because they have caved in to President Bush's tough Texas talk.

I can't believe the Democrats think it's good for the country to attack Saddam Hussein. Bush has to vindicate his father's error in not wiping Hussein out when he had the chance, and now he wants to divert the country from the economy, corporate corruption, health-care issues and the fact that he wants to be reelected.

Will the parents of boys really say, "Go, my son, fight and die for your country"? Where will the money come from for another war? Starting a war in the Mideast and the so-called hunt for Osama bin Laden will leave us in a black hole, financially and morally. What a sad day for all Americans.

JoAnne Micon

Chatsworth

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Having long suspected that somebody was profiting from the drive to go to war, I am indebted to the intrepid Michael Ramirez for fingering the culprit (editorial cartoon, Commentary, Sept. 17).

Turns out it isn't Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. No, it's former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter. Thanks a bunch.

John C. LaMonte

Eagle Rock

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Those who think we must have evidence proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction before launching a preemptive strike on Iraq invite disaster. And those who think that weapons inspectors can verify with 100% accuracy that Iraq has no such weapons in development or inventory are gambling with the lives of U.S. citizens and our allies.

No inspection process is sufficiently thorough that it can detect every weapons factory in a country the size of Iraq, especially when that country's leader has shown unambiguously for the last decade that he has zero respect for the unenforced demands in the U.N. resolutions. By saying yes to inspections, Hussein blocks U.S. initiatives in the U.N. and deflates international support for an invasion of his country. He is confident he can toy with the inspection teams and that they will never be able to find his growing arsenal. If the U.N. teams enter Iraq thinking differently, in one year Hussein could be infinitely more dangerous.

Do we have to wait until smoke is wafting from the barrel of this criminal's gun before we go after him? I applaud the president's policy. Waiting to act until there's a smoking gun could mean more death and destruction than a preemptive military invasion of Iraq.

John R. Johnson

Encino

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Even if Hussein really does have weapons of mass destruction, why would he use them? If he did, he would immediately be destroyed by us and our allies. Does our government believe that Hussein is too stupid to understand this?

George Armerding

Irvine

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