Split Government -- Bob Herold, regarding the case you made for split government (10/17/02), I could not agree with you more. I used to vote very carefully, examining the candidates on their individual merit, not so much on their party affiliation. But as an emergency method to stop the government in this new aggressive doctrine, I will be voting a straight Democratic ticket. Thank you for stating the situation so succinctly.
With Friends Like These... -- This war on terrorism is sure a confusing one. President Bush has recruited Russia and China as "allies" against the "axis of evil" -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Yet China and Russia provide nearly all of the missile technology, materials, weapons and technical support for these nations. Russia just signed a $40 billion trade agreement with Saddam Hussein, which includes weapons of mass destruction. China continued to supply and support the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan while we were fighting there.
President Bush has also insisted that this war be endorsed by the United Nations. The United Nations has always welcomed and supported all terrorist nations and rarely supports the interests of freedom or the United States. The new U.N. installed leader of liberated Afghanistan is Hamid Karzai. He is closely allied to Iran and recently said, "We want to see our Iranian brothers involved in every aspect of the reconstruction of Afghanistan."
After a year, what has the war on terrorism accomplished? Osama bin Laden is still unaccounted for and Afghanistan is now aligned with Iran and Russia. The removal of Saddam Hussein under U.N. supervision will also mean little in the war on terrorism. As long as our "allies" are China, Russia and the U.N., we are committed to another costly no-win war.
A Response to the President -- When President Bush laid out his arguments to justify his plans to attack Iraq, he ignored huge issues which beg to be aired in a free and full debate.
First, he brushed aside the fact the Iraqi regime is bowing to U.S. pressure to resume arms inspections. Reluctantly, and only because Saddam is under tremendous pressure (thanks, President Bush), he is allowing inspectors back into the country, and he has finally agreed to allow inspection of his palaces. Now we have a chance to see for ourselves and to take appropriate measures based on facts uncovered by the inspection team. This is a fine opportunity to declaw the tyrant without a full scale war.
Second, we do incalculable damage to our cause in the war on terrorism by attacking Iraq, even by threatening to attack. President Bush's threats against Iraq are rapidly destroying the best tool the world has for stamping out international terrorism: unity among nations. If nations in the Middle East withdraw their cooperation in the war on terrorism because of Bush's war on Iraq, we will suffer an incredible loss, for there is no way for the U.S. to ferret out terrorists in the region without the help of friendly Middle Eastern governments.
But the risk of bungling the war on terrorism isn't the only risk, nor is it perhaps the gravest risk to Americans. Every nation, including Iraq, reserves the right to defend itself. Make no mistake: Iraq is willing and able to massacre American troops, just as it has massacred Iranians and Kurds. Oh, Iraq cannot "win" a war with the U.S., but as in Vietnam, it can create a bloody quagmire for us that costs billions of dollars, damages our international prestige, and wastes countless American lives. When we have options short of war that could possibly solve our conflict with Iraq, it is reckless to engage in war with stakes this high.
I am awed by the courage and patriotism shown by our young soldiers who are willing to fight in Iraq. Their willingness to take huge personal risks in support of their president and country is an inspiration. But we should never betray their honor and valor by throwing them into the fray before we have tried every other means possible to resolve our conflicts.
Finally, the president, a former governor with little, if any, foreign policy experience, seems oblivious to the fact that the Middle East is a powder keg. At no time in this blitzkrieg of war rhetoric have I seen any comment by President Bush, or his top advisers, about the regional consequences of an American attack on a Muslim nation. To ignore the multiple repercussions of a war against a Muslim nation in a volatile region is a high-risk game.
At the very least, we must give the U.N. arms inspectors time to do their work, so that we base our next decision on facts they uncover, not upon our fears about what they might find.
Control Freak -- An interesting analysis of the mayor's political astuteness, or lack of it ("Powers' Outage at City Hall," 10/10/02), but I believe the problem is much deeper and more basic than Robert Herold's introspective abilities comprehend.
Powers believes he's in a position to dictate to all on the city organizational chart, period. It shocks and angers him when others don't understand that what he does is always "right." He's a control freak, and when he doesn't have the control he needs and wants for whatever purposes, it's maddening to him.
I think there's more happening behind the scenes with Powers that will cause great harm to this city than you realize, or may even be willing to accept. Anyhow, pretty good commentary.