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Shoddy Record-Keeping Isn't Limited to Iraq

January 19, 2003

Re "U.N. Inspectors Find Warheads, Seek Answers," Jan. 17: President Bush should take a step back before he wages war in Iraq based on the discovery of shoddy military record-keeping. Incompetent or criminal bookkeeping is universal. Take the example of Florida. As late as June 2002, Gov. Jeb Bush's state couldn't account for nearly 1,000 children missing from the foster-care system. Now, that's incompetent. Enron executives managed, through creative accounting, to bankrupt a company and cheat its shareholders without depleting their own nest eggs. Sounds pretty criminal to me. WorldCom finds and loses billions like we do spare change in the sofa. This axis of greed and sloppiness couldn't stand up under the scrutiny of any team of inspectors. Wouldn't it be interesting to watch if the administration spent more time on domestic "material breaches"?

Marion Lewish

San Diego

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The biting "Off to Baghdad" cartoon by Pat Oliphant and Bruce Kluger and David Slavin's satire (Commentary, Jan. 17) make one wonder how Congress can find a way to deal with presidential hubris. When Bush reduces a massive movement to engage a distant country in war into saying he is "sick and tired" of Saddam Hussein's recalcitrance, we civilians can protest. But what about the thousands of servicemen and women who face the worst that so-called human beings can inflict upon each other? What recourse do these loyal citizens have if they also wish to protest? Does the Constitution deal with presidential hubris? Does Congress have the guts and the conviction? Will we be lemmings led by Bush, Cheney and company?

Lou Jacobs Jr.

Cathedral City

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I've had enough of listening to people say that the Iraq war should not be fought. If in fact it was not necessary, the Democrats would crucify Bush. The Democratic consensus has given its blessing. The danger must be more real than the media know.

Dana Swan

Newbury Park

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