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War and Rumors of War and What Will Bush Do?

January 05, 2003

Re "Bush Defends Stand on N. Korea," Jan. 1: George W. Bush is currently serving us as president. My early civics classes taught me that the process of electing a president was a participatory exercise and that the winner was responsible both for and to the electorate that he or she serves. Yet, rebuking a reporter who had the impudence to suggest that a war with Iraq may be looming, Bush said at a press conference in Crawford, Texas: "I don't know why you say that. I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq." Then he added: "I'm the person who gets to decide, not you."

The continual use of the personal pronoun "I" by this national leader has made me increasingly uncomfortable. The role of our president is not to act as a unilateral decision-maker but to listen to the contrasting and often opposing views of the population as reflected through the U.S. Congress. Bush was elected by the narrowest of margins, so his assumption of his right to make presumptive announcements is highly suspect.

Jon Lambert

Ojai

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Re "Foreign Policy Loses Its Logic," Commentary, Dec. 31: Robert Scheer hit the nail on the head. Since U.S. officials have said North Korea has one or two nuclear bombs, the Bush administration's talk about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq sounds pretty hollow. The inspectors have turned up nothing in Iraq. Yet Bush, brushing off questions about Korea, said on Dec. 31 that "Saddam Hussein has not heard the message." What message -- that Bush is going to war no matter what the inspectors find?

Not only does North Korea have the bomb, but it is working on long-range missiles capable of reaching Alaska and beyond. Iraq has no long-range missiles. If diplomacy and containment can work for North Korea, they ought to work equally well for Iraq.

John P. Jones

Long Beach

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Scheer's arguments concerning Bush's foreign policy regarding North Korea and Iraq couldn't be further from the truth. When will he understand that some countries are no different from that bully in school who couldn't be reasoned with and always wanted to push everyone around? Appeasing them never works.

Under the Clinton administration, North Korea signed a deal and then immediately began to break it by pursuing a clandestine nuclear program.

In Iraq, Hussein kicked out U.N. inspectors and it wasn't until the threat of military intervention that he finally succumbed to reinspections.

Each crisis will be dealt with at the appropriate time. Right now, Iraq is the priority, as it is the biggest threat based on its past behavior. North Korea is a far more complicated problem.

If Scheer thinks China will allow North Korea to fall, then he needs a serious lesson on foreign affairs.

This administration has far from "mucked up our approach to the world." It is only cleaning up the mess from years of neglect and appeasement.

Jeff Fernald

Honolulu

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There is a country I love. It is a country that was known and respected in the international community as a friend of liberty and peace. A country powerful and rich -- powerful in its dedication to freedom and peace and rich in the diversity and tolerance of its people. This country has a strong army and powerful weapons. Today, this country is threatening other countries with war and has already moved its huge army and weapons in preparation for the attack. This country has declared that it will disregard international law, and it has threatened to use its nuclear weapons. Today, I am afraid of this country.

Thiemo Roehr

Los Angeles

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