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Superpower Strategies Are Costing Us All

September 14, 2003

Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in defense of the lack of stability in Iraq that "we have done everything we can do ... because we are dealing with our most precious treasure, and that's the blood of our sons and daughters" (Sept. 10).

Really? How many sons and daughters of our administration and of our Congress are in harm's way in Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Or anywhere? These are not rhetorical questions. And while we're counting, how many sons and daughters of our administration and of our Congress are Washington lobbyists?

Jill Chapin

Santa Monica

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Judging from his Sept. 10 letter about 9/11, Kent Schmidt has bought the administration's rhetoric linking the Iraq war to the war on terrorism, rhetoric that has grown much louder now that the other prewar justifications don't work and the postwar chaos continues to escalate. Attacking Iraq has been on the agenda of Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz since the end of the first Gulf War in the early 1990s; 9/11 has simply provided convenient cover for those cynical enough to exploit it.

Schmidt says that those who oppose the war have not given "one logical alternative to the course we are on that will protect our freedom." A major alternative would have been to direct the enormous resources necessary for a war of choice in Iraq to more serious efforts to make us secure at home and to apprehend Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, who have actually attacked us. Unfortunately, we are now stuck in Iraq, where plenty of newly arrived terrorists are apparently taking full advantage of the absence of effective prewar planning as to Iraq's postwar recovery.

James K. Knowles

Sierra Madre

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The U.S. has demonstrated that it is entirely capable of almost completely destroying Iraq. The giddy sense of near omnipotence resulting from being the world's sole remaining superpower may have given Washington the sense that it can create a democracy out of the ashes of an authoritarian police state. What is becoming increasingly clear is that our destructive capacities are by no means matched by our constructive ones.

David Kerby

Studio City

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Congress must demand the president do the following to receive additional funds to correct his Iraqi blunder: (1) fire Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz; (2) remove the current federal $500-billion deficit; (3) raise taxes on corporations, banks and wealthy individuals to pay for the occupation and rebuilding (we must pay as we go and not leave this debt to future generations); (4) lead the federal charge to oppose California illegal noncitizens' ability to get a driver's license (AB 60 threatens our national security and increases the likelihood for voter fraud); and (5) devise a plan to remove illegal aliens from within our borders.

Joseph Ruiz

City of Industry

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If this is a "different kind of war," why do we keep building $4-billion aircraft carriers, the latest named after the president's father (Sept. 7)? This money should be used to enhance our intelligence network, where it is really needed. The more people we blow up, the more terrorists we cultivate. We can eliminate every terrorist that President Bush claims is residing in Iraq and still not eradicate the terrorist scourge. There exists no "central front."

Terrorism is a global disease. We have to rethink our strategies. Military action should be the enforcer, not the instigator. It is essential that major philosophical changes take place in order to combat this menace before we succumb to it.

Jim Caputo

Valley Village

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Think what the Peace Corps could do with $87 billion!

John Gebler

Los Angeles

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