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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Diplomatic Struggle Should End With a Disarmed Iraq

March 16, 2003

As we approach a final U.N. vote regarding Iraq, I think it's important to give thought to the struggle that British Prime Minister Tony Blair is undergoing in trying to muster support, against the backdrop of an increasingly cantankerous France. British colonialist efforts scarred the Middle East much in the way the French scarred the African continent. Perhaps the world should recognize that Blair is not Washington's puppet, but a thoughtful statesman committed to righting that which has gone wrong.

It's easy for France to sit by the sidelines and grandstand while offering no concrete solutions to the crisis. Perhaps the French should look at what 200 years of colonialism have done to Africa and apply some of their sharp rhetoric to themselves.

Edward Greissle

New York City

In your March 14 editorial you asked, "Why insist on immediate war just as the political pressure and military threat appear to be having a positive effect?" and said, "Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has said he needs months to verify Iraq's compliance ... let him have those months, but no more."

Now that a lot of Americans are out of a job and most states are in dire financial straits, my question is: Who will shoulder the cost of keeping the military pressure on Saddam Hussein during the months that the inspectors are doing their job? Shouldn't the other countries like France, Russia and Germany -- countries that will definitely benefit -- help defray the cost of a lengthy and peaceful disarmament of Iraq?

Victor W. Monsura

Garden Grove

For more than two weeks, the Bush administration has kept the lid on a top-secret State Department report that states that President Bush's aim of installing freedom in Iraq and the Middle East is "not credible" (March 14). If the administration has strong evidence that this war will neither spread democracy nor make us safer, why are we going to war? Bush and his war cabinet should resign.

Mike Stephens

Santa Cruz

If we're not successful in the present decade, any nation or group -- large or small, democratic or dictatorial -- will be able to blackmail any other nation or group, large or small, with weapons of mass destruction. This is the true nature of the urgent challenge that the Bush administration seems to see only in terms of American "interests."

Robert A. Willett

Manhattan Beach

Avoiding the wrong war at the wrong time is not appeasement; it is skill. Fighting the wrong war at the wrong time is not courage; it's stupidity. I think I know into which category Bush and his foreign policy toward Iraq fall.

Alan D. Buckley

Newbury Park

Can you hear history's echo in the words of Blix, who seems unable to recognize evil, and the European leaders, who seem unwilling to oppose it? Their countrymen once absolved themselves of the horrors of World War II by saying, "We saw the trains, but ...."

Jim Lucas

Santa Monica

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