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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

U.S. Can Take Action on Iran's Nuclear Threat

September 13, 2004

In "Bush Can't Afford Inaction on Iran" (Commentary, Sept. 9), Max Boot bemoans the administration's inept response to Tehran's nuclear ambition and collusion with terrorists. He blames internecine battles between the State and Defense departments for the "paralysis" and dismisses John F. Kerry's diplomatic focus as "appeasement."

Boot ignores the obvious. The administration is hamstrung in its response to real threats like Iran and North Korea because it has used up its military deployment, money, alliances and credibility on the Iraq war, a fool's errand against a trumped-up threat.

David Kerns

Oakland

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Boot writes that we are concerned about the possibility that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons because it is not a democracy.

He overlooks the fact that totalitarian states, including the former Soviet Union, China and recently North Korea and Pakistan, have possessed nuclear weapons for decades and have never used them.

In fact, the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons is a democracy, and it used them in an attack against the civilian population of an enemy whose defeat was already certain and which did not threaten the national survival of the attacker.

That nation was us.

Morris Schorr

Woodland Hills

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We can take strong action to stop Iran's nuclear bomb program in its tracks. Let's move our fleet into position in the Persian Gulf to prevent any oil from being shipped out of Iran. Then we can trade a permanent end to Iran's nuclear program for lifting the oil embargo.

Of course we may have to accept higher oil prices for a while, but in return for security we should be willing to pay that small sacrifice.

Remember how effective JFK's embargo was in ending the Cuban missile crisis without a shot being fired.

Robert S. Siegler

Hidden Hills

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