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War's Real Price Is Paid in Blood

September 24, 2003

Re "The Risky Business of Modern War," by William M. Arkin, Opinion, Sept. 21: The picture Maj. Gen. Victor E. "Gene" Renuart Jr. drew of the U.S. military fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq is eerily moving. Decent, intelligent and brave men laboring desperately to accomplish their given tasks with imperfect information, never knowing exactly who or where their enemies are, while paying the price of being there with their own blood. Didn't we see this before -- until we, as a nation, became sick -- during the Vietnam War?

We are now told that there was never a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. But we are there now and cannot leave. How much more blood, American and Iraqi, must be spilled no one can even guess. Someone must pay for this absurd tragedy.

Chol W. Kim

Los Angeles

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According to Arkin, Renuart sees victory hinging on something other than the military. He sees the key as providing education and economic development to countries where the seeds of terrorism grow. The U.S., he says, must invest in the world.

Most countries seeding terrorism have youth bulges -- millions of ill-educated, hopeless youth. Most countries seeding terrorism hold women in low esteem, offer girls even less education than boys and do little to hold down fertility rates. Yet the Bush administration takes every opportunity to reduce investment in reproductive health and family planning. Educating women and giving them the ability to choose how many children to have and when to have them are probably the greatest long-term peace-waging one can do.

Jane Roberts

Redlands

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Re "Deadly Mistake Typifies Shaky Line U.S. Walks," Sept. 21: News flash for The Times: Civilians get killed during wars. Your writers act as though this is something new. Liberating France, Belgium, Germany and Italy during World War II resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians by U.S. forces. Shouldn't you be pointing out how tremendously small the civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are by comparison? Of course that would require a grasp of history and the ability to write without an agenda.

George Greenlee

Diamond Bar

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The Sept. 21 report of a U.S. soldier killing a rare Bengal tiger in the Baghdad Zoo provides a sad yet perfect metaphor for President Bush's reckless and arrogant war and the price being paid by Iraq's innocent inhabitants. Apparently, a group of drunken U.S. soldiers sneaked into the zoo uninvited, after hours, and thought it would be fun to feed the tiger through the cage bars. The tiger, unable to differentiate between hand and handout, mauled one of the soldiers. Another soldier retaliated by shooting dead the noble, endangered and captive beast. I hope and pray the Iraqi people fare better than the unfortunate tiger who symbolizes their plight.

Ronald M. Asher II

Huntington Beach

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Lost in all the criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq is the fact that we got rid of the biggest weapon of mass destruction -- Saddam Hussein. Whatever problems we face in Iraq, the world is a better place without Hussein in power. Thank you, President Bush, for recognizing evil and dealing with it.

Janet Polak

Beverly Hills

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