Re "Bush's Opposition to Racial Preferences Gets Big Support," Times Poll, Feb. 6:
President Bush's position is fundamentally flawed. The concept of race-based college admissions was never the intent of affirmative action, nor was it the only criterion utilized by the University of Michigan. The university used race as one of its criteria to further its goal of access and obtaining a diverse student population. The accusatory and demonizing position that the president is using is disingenuous and is only meant to garner conservative support.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, during the last Republican convention, was very clear in his statement regarding preferential treatment, as manifested by unfettered access by lobbyists to political figures while denying a poor black kid the opportunity to attend college. Mr. President, you can't have it both ways.
Robert Gregory Miller
Re "Bush Support for 2004 Dips Below 50%," Times Poll, Feb. 5: Not to worry. The Supreme Court will make things right after we vote.
The Feb. 4 Times Poll about taking military action against Iraq makes a strong point: Polls are no good. The reason: The questions are often leading and people don't fully comprehend them.
Example: 65% said the U.S. should only take action with support of the U.N. Security Council. As a response to the next question, 51% support the U.S. taking action without support of the Security Council, but with some allies such as Britain. These numbers are incompatible.
In the meantime, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News Channel says 70% of Americans approve of an attack on Iraq. He can only say that because he leaves out the circumstances under which they approve.
Over the last couple of days I've conducted a private poll by asking five strangers and five friends: Two were in favor of a war, eight against. The response on whether polls should be used as an instrument to determine policy: 0 for, 10 against.
Please explain to those of us who know the dangers of Saddam Hussein where this term "preemptive strike" fits into the debate.
He invaded a country in 1990. We went to war to stop him. He agreed to a cease-fire. He agreed to no-fly zones. He agreed to let weapons inspectors in. He broke all the agreements.
By the way, he fires on our planes every day.
I couldn't have said it any better than Benjamin Barber did in his Feb. 5 commentary, "In Doubt We Trust."
After I returned from active duty in Vietnam, it became apparent to me that our government had lied to us about many of the incidents used to justify initiating and increasing our military involvement there. It is not only necessary and "patriotic" for citizens to question their government's actions, it is essential for the long-term health of our democracy.
Dale A. Choppin
Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan were all cowboys. It seems to me that President Bush is in great company.
Lee M. Jockers