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French and U.S. Interests Collide on the Iraq Issue

March 13, 2003

Re your March 11 news analysis of French President Jacques Chirac's "role as U.S. critic": It is ironic that France is about to exercise its first Security Council veto against a U.S. proposal since the Suez crisis in 1956.

Have we so forgotten that period of history? Confronted by Gamal Abdel Nasser, a charismatic Mideast figure with pan-Arab ambitions who broke international agreements (by seizing the Suez Canal) and posed what they felt was an immediate threat to their national security interests, the French and British launched an attack against Egypt. Though stout allies of the French and British, and no friend to Nasser, President Eisenhower, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and U.N. representative Henry Cabot Lodge stood up to them and, mustering the power of world opinion, forced them to withdraw.

The international repercussions were dramatic: The British and French lost influence throughout the Middle East; the North Atlantic alliance, badly strained, was tragically unable to respond coherently to the Hungarian anti-Soviet revolution. But at that critical moment in world history, America stood by its commitment to the U.N. and actually served the best interests of all humanity -- including the French and British. Were Eisenhower, Dulles and Lodge still alive, we would not need the French to remind us of how paradoxically dangerous unilateralism is to national interest.

Douglas Litten

Woodland Hills

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There are sound arguments against military action in Iraq, but France is in no position to make them. The very policy of containment the French advocate was long ago undermined by their underhanded commerce with Saddam Hussein, some $3.1 billion since 1996 alone. While Chirac makes moral pronouncements about war, his government, in concert with Hussein, is siphoning off the wealth (their blood, their oil) of the Iraqi people. This would be laughable were it not for the legions of Bush-haters and the gullible in this country who take Chirac's side.

Jim Bass

Thousand Oaks

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This is a joke, right? The first sentence of "Gauging Promise of Iraqi Oil" (March 12) says, "Maybe it's a coincidence, but American and British oil companies would be long-term beneficiaries" of a war against Iraq and the removal of Hussein. "A coincidence"?

Later the article states that the successful war would also be a "bonanza" for companies that rehabilitate and rebuild oil fields and support drillers and explorers -- an industry leader being Halliburton Co., where Dick Cheney was chief executive. Is this the same Cheney who, immediately after becoming vice president, held secret meetings with oil and energy companies and later refused to provide notes of those meetings? Is that a coincidence? Where has The Times been?

Renny Temple

Los Angeles

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Thanks to Bush and his war agenda, we've learned that the Tigris runs through Iraq, and the Hubris runs through the White House.

Larry Wilcox

Los Angeles

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