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Rumsfeld's Dubious Post-9/11 Strategies

March 27, 2004

Re "War Plans Meaner, Not Leaner," Opinion, March 21: William Arkin's description of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's grand "1-4-2-1 defense strategy" reminds me of a kid in a candy store who wants everything but doesn't have the money to pay for it.

The projected half-trillion-dollar deficit for 2004 is being driven by a war strategy that has not made us safer from terrorists. It certainly would have been more cost-effective to have focused on Al Qaeda, a threat that defies the massive multi-theater war planning of Rumsfeld and his gang.

Eric Forst

Culver City

*

For war

our leaders seem to thirst.

Is war the last resort,

or first?

Glenn L. Berge

Sierra Madre

Arkin writes about the Pentagon's overall strategic planning in terms that should send shudders down the backs of informed citizens of other free countries. The imperial U.S. described can, does and must have weapons of mass destruction and programs to develop new ones. Not mentioned are over 700 manned military bases abroad. Its governmental policies are bought by special interests via a huge lobbying profession. Its "defense" budget is at least 10 times that of the next largest in the world.

Isn't this kind of philosophy and image exactly the ammunition needed by Osama bin Laden and jihadists around the globe?

Larry Eccles

Pacific Palisades

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Arkin reports that Rumsfeld's military plan "outlines contingencies up to and including the military taking control in the event of a breakdown of civil authority after a massive terrorist attack." He attributes this plan to a document that he describes as the "super-secret OPLAN 2525."

If Arkin is correct, this would be the most radical and dangerous idea yet to emerge from this administration. A fundamental concept underlying the American experience with democracy is that civilians control the military. It has always been so and it must always be so. We have never been willing to have the generals take control of our government. Any plan to turn control of our government over to our military forces, under any circumstance, deserves the widest possible attention.

Maxwell D. Epstein

Santa Monica

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Should there be concern about OPLAN 2525? Questions raised would be: how massive, and who would authorize what amounts to a military takeover? Instead of Rumsfeld designing and the president authorizing such a plan, should not this policy be reviewed and decided by Congress?

Arthur H. Levin

Hollywood

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