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In Asia Visits, Bush Puts a Face on American Policy

October 24, 2003

Re "Bush Briefly Visits Asian Ally," Oct. 19: The imagery of our gunslinger-in-chief too frightened to spend the night in the Philippines is sad and emblematic. Despite security measures, President Bush could not summon the courage to stand his ground for 24 hours in the country he sees as the advance line against terrorism in Southeast Asia. Apparently, Bush's Texas swagger applies only to the troops he orders into open-ended battle; when it comes to the presidential skin, it's slink in, slink out and keep your head down, a timid performance probably enjoyed by Saddam Hussein in his Tikrit basement and Osama bin Laden in his northwest Pakistan hide-out. We have become a phobic country, hiding behind firepower we believe will console us ... and the phobia starts at the top.

David Madsen

Los Angeles

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Apparently, The Times just doesn't get the frustration of some of its subscribers. Take the coverage of Bush's visit to the Philippines. Buried in the article, reference is made to "throngs of schoolchildren and pedestrians who crowded the streets and waved effusively." However, no such picture is shown; instead, two of three pictures showed protesters burning the American flag and displaying anti-Bush signs. It would have been interesting to see pictures of the protesters and supporters side by side. Unfortunately, some people never get past the pictures.

Lois Tannenbaum

West Hills

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Your photo caption describing Filipinos protesting as "anti-Americanism" is false. They are clearly anti-Bush. Their sign says "Stop Bush." There is a difference between being against preemptive wars, unilateral international decision-making, the repudiation of treaties such as the Kyoto accord and being anti-American. Contrary to the Bush administration and Fox News, one can be a patriotic American or a foreign friend of America and be against Bush's policies.

Harlan Levinson

Los Angeles

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Re "The Clouds May Be Clearing for Bush and GOP," Opinion, Oct. 19: Kudos for Walter Russell Mead. I strongly agree with him. The anti-Bush, liberal zealots are not really interested in our people. The Democrats have no clear message. Their only interest is in ousting Bush, whose approval rating is still above 50%, from office.

Ihn Joon Song

Granada Hills

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Re "Make the Case to the World," editorial, Oct. 18: Maybe the State Department has some "sound recommendations" about how to change the now deep-seated hostility toward the U.S., but it might be a good idea to rein in our tough-talking, bellicose president first. All the attempts to reach ordinary citizens in other countries to explain U.S. "history, culture and values" will have little positive effect as long as Bush and his Cabinet continue to espouse hostile, unilateral action in the name of combating terrorism. Actually, I am not so sure that trying to explain our violent culture to "barbers and homemakers" is such a good idea either.

Fred Hardy

Laguna Beach

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