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U.S. in Iraq: In for a Penny, In for a Pounding

September 03, 2003

Re "U.S. Presses for Aid to Iraq, but Few Give -- or Give In," Aug. 31: If ever there was proof that Americans get angry about the wrong things, it was there, on Sunday's front page. Although the "Target of Anger" is Gov. Gray Davis, the untenability of our plan to rebuild Iraq seems to escape mainstream censure.

It is bad enough that we sent young Americans to Iraq under suspect pretenses and left them there, badly outnumbered, so that they might find something to justify their presence there in the first place. But now, because of our nation's reckless disregard for diplomacy in the rush to war, we are stuck with a monthly price tag of $4 billion. And, apparently, American taxpayers are supposed to quietly accept this. That Americans are not outraged is outrageous.

Josh Sides

Assistant Professor, History

Cal Poly Pomona

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The simplistic rhetoric of Rami Khouri's Aug. 31 commentary is a good demonstration of the problem with the Arab media. Occupation versus resistance is the only image of Iraq he can project. What would happen if we ended the humiliating occupation of Iraq? There would be a horrendous bloodbath, ended only by the takeover by some strongman -- whether Islamist or Baathist would hardly matter. Once again, Arab intellectuals would blame the West for the lack of democracy in the Arab world. In truth, only a long period of Arab introspection will produce a viable democracy. However, there is little hope of this when the Arab media and Arab intellectuals continue to stoke the fires of indignation that ignite terrorist rage.

Charles Berezin

Los Angeles

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Thank you for "Deepening Doubts on Iraq" (editorial, Aug. 29). Aside from the obvious grotesque cost in terms of dollars and our own soldiers' lives, there are three more things we should consider: Osama bin Laden, the one responsible for 9/11, must surely be grateful for this war we have initiated in Iraq; we are evidently not one iota safer as a result of the war; and Bechtel Group and Halliburton have received a windfall of contracts in Iraq, the price tag for which we may never know.

Donald C. Litton

Chatsworth

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Bill Clinton (on Dec. 16, 1998), after ordering an attack on military targets in Iraq, said, "The mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs." Richard Butler, former United Nations chief inspector in Iraq, stated in his book, "The Greatest Threat," that it would be foolish to assume that Saddam Hussein was not adding to the chemical and biological weapons that he concealed from the U.N. According to the New Yorker in 2002, the chief of German intelligence estimated that Iraq would have an atomic weapon within three years.

The fact that the U.N. and the intelligence agencies of almost every nation that looked into this found that suspected Iraqi weapons development programs constituted a threat to U.S. security and world peace would seem to back up the Bush administration's decision to go to war. That weapons of mass destruction have not been found might well indicate incompetence. But to claim that the administration may have lied about WMD without providing one shred of evidence says more about the credibility of The Times than that of the administration.

Frank Wagner

Oxnard

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