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Comparing Policies of Bush and Kerry

June 23, 2004

For the headline on William Arkin's article to suggest that John Kerry is "a Lighter Shade of Bush" (Opinion, June 20) is like saying Pat Boone is a lighter shade of Ray Charles. The two cannot be compared.

With all due respect to Arkin's ability to split military hairs, the 27 distinguished U.S. diplomats, admirals and four-star generals who are now calling for President Bush's removal from office are decisively saying "time for a new president."

This president, we now know, against the advice of most around him, has chosen to pursue a deliriously reckless, religiously driven doctrine for which the American people will be paying for decades to come.

Once we have a new president, Arkin can analyze his defense strategies and policies. First, let's replace the old one.

Cort Casady



There is little Kerry has said so far that gives the progressive anything to cheer about. On foreign policy, he sounds and appears little different from Bush. As Arkin suggests, liberals hope this is merely political posturing on Kerry's part so that he would not appear weak on defense in the eyes of average voters. However, let us not hold our breath.

At this point, nothing bodes well. American democracy seems delusional. The rich and powerful, along with their political stooges, will continue to remain rich and powerful. Damned be environmentalists, labor and those seeking reasonable social justice if they dare stand in their way. The greed merchants of the planet, as they have been for most of recorded history, are firmly in control.

Don Malvin

Canoga Park


Whatever the motive behind his piece on Kerry's foreign policy views, Arkin is flat wrong when he says Kerry favors "continuation of Bush's preemption policy" because Kerry would "strike first if any attack 'appears imminent.' "

Kerry and practically every political and moral thinker in history agree that acting preemptively to prevent an actual or "imminent" threat is justifiable self-defense. Bush's preemption doctrine is much different -- and immeasurably more dangerous to our national interests -- because it justified going to war against Iraq without making sure that any Iraqi threat to attack our nation was actual or imminent, rather than merely possible or potential.

Garland Allen

Santa Monica


Kerry's campaign performance as a stuffed former action hero is becoming tired. While his apparent strategy seems to be to run out the clock and hope that the Bush administration self-destructs, the Republican Party attack machine has been successful in defining him as a man without convictions. It is starting to seem correct, if for the wrong reasons.

The assumption that the "anyone but Bush" argument will assure a Democratic victory seems dangerously optimistic. Maybe it's time to look for a new Democratic candidate before it's too late. Isn't that what political conventions used to be for?

Paul Zelevansky

Beverly Hills

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