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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Voting for Credibility -- Kerry's and Bush's

March 24, 2004

Re "Road to Victory Is Paved With Trust," Commentary, March 19: Since Frank Luntz and the GOP are asking why Sen. John F. Kerry voted the way he did, may I suggest the following: Why did Kerry vote for the war? Because he, the Congress and the nation were lied to. Why did Kerry vote for the Patriot Act? Because no one in his right mind could ever envision the assault on our civil liberties.

And why did Kerry vote for No Child Left Behind? Because he had some idea that President Bush was an honorable man who would fund the program to help the schools, not beat them over the head. The only inconsistencies I see come from the Bush administration.

James W. Gray

Thousand Oaks

Kerry is bitterly condemning Bush for Iraq, ignoring the great things that are happening there. The president and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell have visited Iraq. I suggest the Democratic candidate do the same so he can be more precise with his criticism.

Arline George

Reseda

Does anyone else think it's funny that Vice President Dick Cheney demanded that Kerry name the "foreign leaders" who reportedly said to him that they hope he defeats Bush this fall? This is the same Cheney who has refused to tell Congress and the American people the names of the energy tycoons he consulted in formulating the administration's energy policy.

Bess Christensen

Lompoc, Calif.

The March 18 Michael Ramirez cartoon (Commentary) depicting terrorists as "unidentified foreign leaders who want Kerry to beat Bush" is a bit over the top, as political cartoons usually are, but fearfully accurate. Kerry's politically exploitive, ambiguous weakness about constructively finishing the job of rebuilding Iraq invites a Tet-like offensive in the fall to support Kerry's election and expected bug-out from Iraq. Kerry, quickly and unambiguously, needs to stand tall for completing the stabilization of Iraq, without caveats or his famous flip-flops.

Bruce N. Kesler

Encinitas

Re "9/11 Allegations Draw Bush's Fire," March 23: Why don't we have medals for whistle-blowers? Richard Clarke deserves one for service to his country. How do we reward him? I, for one, will buy his book. I am sick of hearing about homeland security, about color-coded alerts and duct-tape solutions. We need a clear-thinking and clear-seeing leader whose glasses are not smeared with oil. First we had former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reveal the Bush group's obsession with Iraq, and now Clarke -- two insiders. It is time for a change.

Come on, Kerry, we need you. We are in more danger than ever before. I am worried.

Shirley Shatsky

Los Angeles

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