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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Azores Summit Ultimatum: Heads, I Win; Tails, You Lose

March 18, 2003

Re "Azores Summit Ends in Ultimatum to U.N.," March 17: Webster's defines "diplomacy" as "the art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations." But the Bush administration seems to have its own definition of the word. President Bush's "final diplomatic effort" has nothing to do with negotiating a peaceful solution to the standoff with Iraq and everything to do with seeking political cover for his rush to war.

While claiming he didn't need United Nations approval anyway, Bush said he would call for an immediate vote on a new resolution, daring Security Council members to "show their cards." Nearly two weeks later, realizing he had overplayed his hand and didn't have anywhere near the nine votes he needed, he decided he didn't want to see the cards after all. Instead, he points a finger at France and claims it ruined the game. Now he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have offered the members of the U.N. Security Council an ultimatum, but no real choice: Either authorize the use of force or don't, and we'll attack anyway. By anyone's definition, that is not diplomacy. It's just a variation on the old trick, "Heads, I win; tails, you lose."

Andrew Hindes

Los Angeles

*

The one-hour summit in the Azores was billed as a final effort at a diplomatic solution. Bush met with Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who support his view. Wouldn't real diplomacy involve getting together with people on both sides of an argument and trying to resolve differences?

Leslie Anderson

Altadena

*

How can the Bush administration call it a "coalition of the willing" when it is being formed by anything but the will -- including fear of retaliation, arm-twisting, bribes and other means.

Ashok Jain

South Pasadena

*

There are no more choices or options and haven't been for some time. In our hearts we know Saddam Hussein has the weapons and chemicals and is a real threat. Now is the time to unite and support our president and those men and women who are out there to keep America safe and secure.

Diana Carreon Malmquist

Westlake Village

*

If Hussein does possess chemical and biological weapons, wouldn't going to war with him be a foolish way to find out?

Jack Cooper

Van Nuys

*

Sunday night, as I stood on a corner in Pasadena holding candles with my wife and two young boys, our president declared that a diplomatic solution in Iraq was all but dead. As I thought about the innocent lives that would soon be lost I realized the hypocrisy of our government in demanding that Iraq accept the will of the international community, while we refuse to do the same.

Daniel Gold

Glendale

*

In "Being Antiwar Isn't Enough" (Opinion, March 16), Daniel Terris uses the phrase "rush to war" no fewer than seven times. If there really was a "rush to war," the war would have been over months ago. Terris employs the typical liberal dogma that if you repeat a lie often enough it will become the truth.

Kevin Potter

San Diego

*

So the simple-minded description of "shock and awe" is the latest Pentagon buzzword for an American blitz against Iraq (Opinion, March 16). "Operation Bloody Slaughter" would be a more appropriate title.

Harriett Bledsoe

Oceanside

*

Looking at that little 6-year-old girl lifting the kitchen tablecloth ("Iraqis Prepare to Hunker Down," March 14), showing off her family's candles and kerosene, my heart swelled with pride for my country knowing that when the bombs start falling on Baghdad, if my tax dollars don't kill her then they will kill kids like her. Gee, where is my flag? I really need to wave it!

Robert Steward

West Hills

*

Your March 14 editorial "The Right Way in Iraq" proposed the commendable course of continued diplomatic efforts. Unfortunately, recent history shows that diplomacy fails when confronted with the baddies of the world. Diplomacy did not work in Kuwait (1990-1991), Bosnia (1995), Kosovo (1999) or Afghanistan (2001). The Milosevics, Mullah Omars and Husseins of our time just do not respond to diplomacy -- to believe otherwise is also to believe in the Tooth Fairy.

George Paulikas

Palos Verdes Estates

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