by Inlander Readers

Invasion Frustration -- A large and growing segment of the U.S. population agrees with the premises in your recent editorial ("Losing Patience," 1/30/03) that a) Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator, b) that he has biological and chemical weapons, c) that he may well use them in the future against his neighbors, and d) that he is in violation of U.N. Resolutions including 1441. Yet we strongly oppose the invasion because its consequences are much more damaging than the problems it is seeking to solve.

Here is a limited list:

* The invasion will set the precise timing for the use of the dreaded biological and chemical weapons as well as their targets: American troops and Israeli and Kuwaiti civilians.

* The invasion is sapping financial, military, and 'first response' resources that should be used against the real threat to our security posed by al Qaeda and North Korea.

* The invasion will activate al Qaeda sleeper cells to sow terror upon U.S. civilian population.

* The invasion will sow terror upon the Iraqi civilian population and disrupt the fragile food distribution system, leading to massive famine.

* The invasion is distracting the administration from real economic, educational, medical and shelter problems confronting our people.

* The invasion will burden our children and grandchildren with a huge national debt from paying for the military and nation-building costs.

* The invasion will isolate us further from world public opinion, the United Nations and the NATO Alliance, and will cast the U.S. as the world's bully rather than the champion of peace and justice.

The invasion is not inevitable. To be sure, we have invested a great deal in preparing for the invasion, but this effort served a purpose of impressing Saddam Hussein and other evil dictators with our ability to mobilize our military might in faraway lands.

Iraq is not our top problem, and even most of its next-door neighbors are not worried. It certainly cannot strike while the inspectors are roaming. Let the United Nations and the inspectors do their job, as we focus on our real problems at home and abroad.

Peter Irwin

Spokane, Wash

Patriotic or Pathetic? -- Thank you for publishing the informative piece about the excesses of the Patriot Act ("Patriotic Act: The Sequel," 2/13/03). It is extremely important for all citizens to hear about this. And there is a grassroots movement taking hold in communities across the country to do just that. Citizens are forming Bill of Rights Defense Committees to educate their fellow citizens and to urge city and county governments to adopt ordinances and resolutions for the protection of civil rights and liberties. These resolutions include provisions for publishing public notices about the impacts of the act, directing local law enforcement not to participate in unconstitutional activities under provisions of the Patriot Act, and urging elected state and federal officials to protect our liberties and work for repeal of the unconstitutional provisions of the Act.

In our own part of the country, more than 100 people turned out for a presentation on the Patriot Act at the Community Hall in Sandpoint on Feb. 10. On that same night, the local Library Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution on this subject. Citizens are now forming the North Idaho Bill of Rights Defense Committee to carry on this work and petition city and county governments in the area to enact similar ordinances and resolutions.

For more information on the North Idaho BORDC, call 208-263-0197 or

e-mail For information, go to

Lang Baker

Sandpoint, Idaho

Waving at the Blind -- So everyone is terrified of the possibility of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the likelihood that Iraq's military will use such weapons if that sovereign nation is invaded. Well, has anyone noticed that the U.S., too, just happens to actually have vast stockpiles of nuclear and chemical weapons? Does anyone seriously believe if the U.S. were invaded that our President would not make use of those very same weapons?

There is so much hypocrisy from our president these days that it's hard to grasp the scope of it. He's successfully kept most of us at some level of fear and far less likely to complain about the direction our country is headed at a time of record budget deficits.

But to all but the President's most hard-core supporters (who probably would believe him if he said Buddhist monasteries harbor terrorists), the sad truth is becoming evident: our President is an imbecile (waving at blind musicians, saying that the French need a word for "entrepreneur" and listing his favorite childhood book as one that wasn't published until after he got out of college).

Being an imbecile by itself isn't necessarily a dangerous thing. Even imbeciles sometimes can be trained to delegate authority. But this imbecile -- through his actions on everything from record tax cuts for the wealthy to gutting environmental safeguards -- proves that he's little more than a lapdog for the oil/energy/mining industry, military/weapons industry, prescription drug/HMO industry, the banking/credit industry, surveillance industry, timber industry, the self-described Christian right and various corporate greed-head Bush cronies who effectively control our government.

And they control it with the complicity of both major political parties, especially the party of big business (Republican). Yes, we all should be very afraid, but not necessarily of Iraq.

Robert A. Ethington

Spokane, Wash.

Publication date: 02/20/03

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Through Sept. 27
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