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War, what is it good for?

January 18, 2007

Re "We can't surrender to the doves," Current, Jan. 14

As Jonathan Chait knows, American doves indeed root for the U.S. to lose any military conflict. Michael Moore's tribute to Iraqi "Minutemen" is an obvious example. Even in Afghanistan, where terrorists masterminded plots to murder Americans, leftists could find no moral basis for defending ourselves. In their view, any harm that comes our way is retaliation for our incessant bullying. I welcome Chait's acknowledgment that armed force is occasionally a rational option. He'll ruffle some feathers trying to win the anti-warriors to his side.

MICHAEL SMITH

Cynthiana, Ky.

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Chait insinuates that the war in Afghanistan was a success. What have we won in Afghanistan? We failed to capture Osama bin Laden. Our allies from the Northern Alliance, mostly drug warlords, control most of the country. Rape, murder and general lawlessness are common. Because of these conditions, the Taliban has experienced a resurgence. According to a recent U.N. report, 92% of the world's opium now comes from Afghanistan. Forty percent of the population is unemployed. Is this Chait's idea of success?

I have never gloated over the massive death and destruction occurring in Iraq. It saddens me. War is not the answer to anything. It just creates new problems.

ARNETT SMITHSON

Ventura

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Like the Bush administration, Chait twists and distorts words and ideas to suit his purposes. To prove that sanctions don't work, he writes, "Saddam Hussein endured more than a decade of sanctions rather than give up a weapons of mass destruction program that turned out to be nonexistent." If they didn't exist, the sanctions did work. Even worse is Chait's take on what got us into this "current mess": "Because the doves made so many bad predictions leading up to the Gulf War, many of us ignored warnings this time." So, because not all predictions came true when we fought to defend an Arab country, President Bush ignored our allies, our intelligence and worldwide protests that an offensive war against Iraq would be disastrous?

Of course, this war is the doves' fault. Chait worries that we might learn too much from this war. U.S. voters might have learned that force alone cannot create justice or peace. But, considering Bush's current escalation plan, Chait need not worry that our president has learned too much.

STEVE PEREZ

Santa Monica

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