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The Impact of 'Shock and Awe' on Civilians

March 23, 2003

On Friday I watched the beginning of the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad. I was truly amazed. I haven't seen anything like it since I was a child and watched newsreels of the Nazi blitzkrieg of Eastern Europe.

This unjustified, unilateral and what I believe to be illegal action by the Bush regime legitimizes every future attack on American government, business and civilian interests. I believe that the ramifications are likely to have negative effects for the rest of our lives.

Ken Blalack

Redondo Beach

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If I hear once more that the U.S. attack on Iraq was unilateral and preemptive I think I will scream. This is a resumption of hostilities because Iraq violated so many U.N. mandates, and as recently as Resolution 1441, a unanimous U.N. resolution to take action. As to unilateral action, can someone please explain how a coalition of more than 40 countries is a unilateral action?

Barry Levy

Redondo Beach

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How exactly do the war planners reconcile the idea of "minimum civilian casualties" and the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad? Smacks of Orwellian doublethink that is needed to rationalize this questionably elected administration's war. How can we show the Arab world that so many of us think this action morally repugnant?

Dominic Di Zinno

Santa Monica

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The biggest threat to the Iraqi people is not the American war effort but Saddam Hussein himself. He has placed military targets in civilian areas. He has killed thousands of his own people and, from what I have heard, he would be very willing to kill many more in a way that would make it look as though they were killed by our war effort. Why anyone would oppose elimination of this idiot is beyond me, whatever the cost.

John Waugen

Anaheim

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Thank you for "Shocked, Awed and Grateful?" (Commentary, March 21). I'm surprised that Sandy Tolan didn't apply Harlan Ullman's definition, "nearly incomprehensible levels of massive destruction" to achieve an "overwhelming level of shock and awe ... directed at influencing society writ large" to the 9/11 attacks. Every American should remember how he or she felt on 9/11. Even those of us in Los Angeles who live 3,000 miles from ground zero know how emotionally devastating and life-draining "shock and awe" can be.

Bob Goldstein

Silver Lake

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I had held out a faint hope that our country could come away from the tragic 9/11 attack gaining in wisdom. We found that we are vulnerable to hatred and even box cutters could pierce our defenses. Beyond a righteous, steely determination to protect ourselves, I thought we might glean an inkling of humility. Instead, our hubris has magnified exponentially.

Great power, as the U.S. undoubtedly possesses, demands a sense of humility or it will degenerate into shallow manipulation of the weak. The "psych-op" assault and "shock and awe" aerial blitz has an unmistakable stench of arrogance.

William Schlegel

Chino Hills

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The Bush administration has just launched a $100-billion recruitment campaign for Al Qaeda. I'm sure Osama bin Laden is most grateful.

Blake Simpson

Joshua Tree

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Shock: That in the 21st century, a U.S. president would alienate some of our oldest and most-valued European allies, threaten the use of nuclear weapons for the first time since Hiroshima, disregard the United Nations and tout "preemptive strike" as acceptable international policy.

Awe: That 9/11 families have felt enough violent loss to know they don't want it to happen to families in Iraq, that Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) challenges 99 of his colleagues to see that "we flaunt our superpower status with arrogance," that hundreds of thousands of people around the globe demonstrate for peace even after the bombs start to fall and that, in this century, we are not a world of sheep!

Robert N. Treuhaft

La Canada Flintridge

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It was reported (Sports, March 20) that the spectators in Memphis, Tenn., cheered when it was announced that the U.S. had attacked Iraq. I remember when Americans were extremely upset when people in some countries cheered when they saw pictures of the planes flying into the World Trade Center. It turns out we are no better than they are.

Walter Harris

Woodland Hills

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Where were all the peace activists and war protesters when Hussein was killing the defenseless Kurds and his own people?

John Wynne

Long Beach

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How sad that the first 13 American and British casualties of the war died protecting Iraqi oil fields (March 21). This war is being fought to liberate what?

Carol Lopilato

Hermosa Beach

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The antiwar protests in San Francisco (March 21) shouldn't be too surprising, since columnist Herb Caen dubbed the city "Baghdad by the Bay."

Kurt Sipolski

Palm Desert

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The media overload is already well in place: incessantly repetitive reports utilizing "uh, uh, uh" as unprepared reporters search for something, anything, to say. Too many "technical interruptions." Whether you agree or disagree, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer's calm, articulate, quick responses -- including his polite and measured replies to so many inane questions posed at his press briefings -- stand out for their articulate content and clarity. There will be few winners in all this, but hopefully we will see a quick conclusion.

Jerry Earle

Los Angeles

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Watching the war on my TV set, my uncertainty has reached its highest level. Bush ended his war declaration Wednesday night with: "May God bless our country." Hussein replied: "They will face a bitter defeat, God willing." I wonder: Whose side will God take? God, God ... are you there?

Chi Huu Do

Garden Grove

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Which God is it that we're trusting in these days? Is it Mars, the god of war?

Chris Frau-Sanchez

Los Angeles

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