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U.S. Must Ensure Iraq's Stability

June 16, 2004

In taking a poll on whether it was worth it to enter Iraq (Times Poll, June 11), The Times is supporting all those people whose gaze is focused on the rearview mirror. The question before all of us in 2004, regardless of one's prewar position in 2002, is what to do now. At this time we need our leadership (governmental and media) to point out the historic opportunity that exists. Either we provide the force to ensure a transition to a stable and democratic government in Iraq or we allow the likely dissolution of the country into a base for continuing Islamic radicalism and bloodshed throughout the region.

It does not seem likely that peace and stability in the Middle East will ever come without strong leadership from the United States, including the use of military force.

Martin G. Rosenblatt

Los Angeles

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Although I have no trouble criticizing the president either for the way he was appointed to office or for his domestic policies, which hover somewhere between dubious and disastrous, I am experiencing difficulty joining the new majority that now seems to say that it wasn't worth it to invade Iraq.

I prefer not to go back to a time when we had an influential Middle Eastern nation terrorized by a tyrant who had already attacked two of his neighbors and who had his own populace mesmerized with fear, even though, as it turns out, he was politically a certified charlatan and personally a world-class coward who evidently had the entire world -- himself included -- convinced that he possessed dangerous weapons. He looted his country's treasury while the citizens suffered under stifling economic sanctions, all the while with some do-gooding modern-day Diogeneses tromping to and fro through the land searching for those weapons.

However, I will say that I hope the next time we decide to go to war, it won't be conceived and conducted by people whose total knowledge of the military is how to avoid serving in it.

Earl Eager Albert

Temple City

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