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Congressional Probe of WMD Controversy

June 22, 2003

Several months ago, former United Nations arms inspector Scott Ritter (a former Marine) was called a traitor by many on the cable news talk shows for saying that most of the chemical and biological weapons in Iraq had been destroyed.

France was demonized for suggesting that the U.N. should be given a few more months to complete its inspections and for requesting more inspectors. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix was berated for not finding weapons of mass destruction in sites presented to him by the Bush administration. After almost three months of inspections, with 1,400 inspectors now on the ground, I think it's perfectly appropriate to ask the Bush administration, "How are we doing?"

Wally Armstrong

Torrance

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Re your June 19 editorial, "Open Iraq Hearings Crucial," on the Iraqi WMD controversy: How can you say that "something more than partisanship is at stake here"? What more is there? In 2000, George W. Bush won a disputed election, inheriting a sputtering economy for which he could eventually be blamed. Democratic chances in 2004 seemed good. However, since 9/11 Bush's actions against the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein have sent his approval ratings into the stratosphere.

Clearly, Democrats had to do something. The economy seemed a risky issue. (Republicans might bring up Gray Davis and California.) And no third-party candidate is around to siphon away Bush votes. So let's make a Watergate out of WMD. In a nonpartisan way, of course.

Thomas A. Schenach

Huntington Beach

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I agree with The Times that Washington needs open hearings regarding the prewar intelligence. I continue to read and hear that the "majority" of Americans are indifferent to the possibility that the White House may have misled us about the threat of Iraq. One reason many Americans are indifferent is they haven't been properly informed. What little coverage I do read or see often implies that the allegations are coming from the Democrats looking to win political points, when in actuality they are coming from experts in the intelligence community.

Americans died in Iraq; more than 3,000 Iraqi civilians are dead, and many more seriously maimed and injured. How shameful it is that we, as Americans, feel indifferent.

Eileen Baldwin

Lake Forest

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