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Lessons of Vietnam Ignored in Rush to War

January 20, 2003

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day we should recall these words of King: "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government ... for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent." Powerful words said during the Vietnam War, yet little has changed.

Most obvious is the relentless drive to invade Iraq. Other motives behind the Bush policy include oil, which corporate interests behind the Bush team want to control. Deflecting attention from the sinking economy is another. Another factor is the war business itself. Just think of all the missiles and other weapons that will have to be replaced and repurchased after the Iraqi onslaught. It's 2003, but still "there's no business like war business," with projections of a huge increase in military spending to pay for a generation of new weapons.

King said, "We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the Earth together as brothers." It's time we learn. Stopping the drift toward war and putting the war business permanently out of business is the first step.

Douglas Mattern

Assn. of World Citizens

San Francisco

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To those who would rush to war: Are you ready? Are you ready for the body bags that will be flown home, containing the shattered remains of our sons and daughters? Are you ready for the fear, suffering and grief of war? As usual, we old people do the talking and the young do the dying. Be ready.

Winfield C. Goulden

Studio City

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Chris Osborne might be surprised by how the peace movement will "play in Peoria" (letter, Jan. 16). I was stunned when I returned for a visit five months ago and read the number of letters and editorials in the Peoria Journal Star questioning the Bush administration's apparent intent to go to war with Iraq. This certainly was not the prevalent Midwest attitude during the Vietnam War. Then I realized that, like me, these were the people who actually went to Vietnam. They have no desire to see their children sent to another useless war by politicians and other saber-rattlers who chose to sit out Vietnam.

William H. Banks

Anaheim

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Re "Bush Should Come Clean on His Intentions in Iraq," letters, Jan. 15: President Bush should come clean? How quickly we forget that when independent counsel Kenneth Starr nipped a little too closely at Bill Clinton's heels, Clinton bombed Iraq as a distraction from L'affaire Lewinsky!

Nina Murphy

Redondo Beach

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