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Bush's Justifications for Going to War in Iraq

June 30, 2003

Re "Stop Blaming, Wise Up to Postwar Realities," Commentary, June 25: Caleb Carr wrongly seeks to absolve President Bush for the Iraq war. In part, he argues that "even if the Bush administration exaggerated the immediacy of the threat of Iraqi WMDs" it was just doing what every other American president, including FDR, did in making the case for war. Carr should know better. FDR stood before Congress seeking not a preemptive war but a response to the Japanese strike at Pearl Harbor.

Carr's book "The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians" suggests a far more realistic source of the war than weapons of mass destruction: Carr stated that "few people still maintain ... that the [original] Gulf War was solely or even primarily undertaken to liberate Kuwait; it resembles a 19th century war to protect overseas commercial interests.... " Perhaps in another 10 years Carr will pen the same conclusion about the second Gulf War in response to the suggestion that it was undertaken to preserve "Iraqi freedom."

Norman A. Dupont



Rep. Jane Harman's June 26 letter responding to your June 19 editorial about the crucial need to open the Iraq hearings on weapons of mass destruction praises the "considerable bipartisan cooperation" in Congress on this issue and justifies the closed hearings "because of the sensitive nature of the material."

C'mon! The public is unlikely to accept any conclusions reached during closed hearings that deny the viewing of partisan give-and-take questioning of witnesses. Besides, what can be "sensitive" at this stage of the simmering WMD debate other than the political fallout against those responsible either for misinforming or misleading the country?

Stan Bachrack

Los Angeles

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