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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

War in Iraqi Cities, Protests in U.S. Cities

March 28, 2003

Should we look back nostalgically at the days when our leaders suggested that the Iraqis might welcome our troops with open arms? Were our leaders really that naive, or were they consciously deceiving us? The Iraqis are certain to remember the tens of thousands of Iraqi lives they lost to our bombs in the last war. They were never likely to see us as friends.

In a way, we've created a twisted form of democracy. The Iraqis must choose between rule under Saddam Hussein's tyranny and rule by those who are brutally bombing their homes, destroying their water supplies, cutting off their power and killing their sons, brothers and fathers. The early results don't look promising. The Iraqis are voting with their bullets and their lives.

Miguel Munoz

Los Angeles

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I had to laugh at the implied outrage in "Fighting in Civvies and, Maybe, Outside the Law" (March 26). The nerve of those Iraqis, playing against the rules of war. Hey, I thought that the "rules of war" was an oxymoron. If I were defending my country, I'd play any way that worked -- just like Gen. George Washington and his band of guerrilla soldiers did back in 1776. The outrage is silly.

Greg Gunther

Rolling Hills Estates

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Re "A Cloud of Tension Amid the Dust," March 26: The report of Baghdad residents interpreting Tuesday's fierce sandstorm, coincident with the approach of the invading forces, as a signal from God, is eerily reminiscent of the effect that an unforeseen resonance between religious beliefs and coincidental events had on another clash of civilizations.

In 1519, Cortez too was leading a numerically inferior but vastly more powerfully equipped force in a preemptive, imperialistic invasion of another ancient civilization. It is doubtful that he would have succeeded if not for the coincidental similarities between his appearance and an ancient prophecy, leading the Aztecs to believe he was the returning god Quetzalcoatl.

Let's hope that future historians won't have to debate whether the outcome of this invasion might have been different, if not for the coincidence of the sandstorm.

Jack McGregor

Woodland Hills

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Quite simply put, no sane, rational person is in favor of war. As human beings there are times that we are presented with situations that demand action. As an Army veteran and current fire captain these facts are especially evident. A cancer victim has to endure incredible suffering (chemo, radiation) to defeat an ailment, not by choice but by necessity. Hussein is a cancer that must be eradicated, not by choice but by necessity. God bless America.

Lee M. Gregory

Riverside

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Steve Lopez does well in finding questions for the answers he seeks (March 26). I hope readers do not view the antiwar answers Lopez garnered by his questions at the Veterans Affairs Hospital as the sentiment of many combat-disabled Vietnam vets. Most whom I know support this war. Many would reenlist, except that they are too old and their disabilities too severe to be accepted.

Mara Fabian

Sherman Oaks

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Who exactly does Michael Ramirez (editorial cartoon, Commentary, March 25) think was protesting when Hussein was using American-made nerve gas on the Iraqi people in the 1980s? Who does he think was protesting throughout the 1990s when the U.S.-led sanctions were strengthening Hussein's grip on power and starving the Iraqi people? The people who have spoken the loudest and the longest on behalf of the Iraqis are leftists.

Adam B. Morrow

West Hollywood

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I have been opposed to Hussein for twice as many years as my country's government. Back in the Reagan era, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was Hussein's best friend, I protested our shortsightedness. With people dying on both sides, speaking out against the false assumptions of this war requires a far more somber tone, but in my mind, it is still the necessary and patriotic thing to do.

There is a certain glamour to a victorious war that obscures war's limitations: a military power can kill or destroy something, and it can hold a limited amount of territory for a limited period of time. But that's all.

World War II would now be remembered as only an exceptionally brutal slaughter (as WWI is) had we not won the peace afterward. That must be accomplished by other means: diplomatic, economic, cultural, political. Unfortunately, the lead-up to this war and the deepening economic crisis create grave doubts that the Bush administration will have any of these.

Martin Kotowski

Sherman Oaks

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Ramirez's depiction of peace activists as supporters of terror is unforgivable. Something terrible is happening in this country when soldiers are dying under the pretense of protecting our freedoms while "journalists" such as Ramirez denigrate those exercising their right to oppose this ghastly affair. The greatest gift the founding fathers bequeathed us was that of dissent. Anybody in any regime can kiss the king's ring -- and that's not worth anyone's dying for, nor is it patriotic.

Stephen Siciliano

Los Angeles

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This is a question for those protesting the war for whatever reason: Which American city and how many lives are you willing to lose in the event your judgment is wrong?

Dick Schneider

Oak View

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