Failing to make strong case for launching a war

Even in light of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's report to the United Nations ("'Irrefutable' Iraq evidence," Feb. 6) this is still the heart of the matter: We are going to start a war on Iraq because we fear it may, in the future, provide terrorists with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons that can be used against us.

So the question is: Is the threat of future attacks on us by Iraqi-aided terrorists a sufficient reason to start a war against Iraq now, without U.N. support? And the answer is no, for a number of reasons.

First, a threat must be imminent to justify war based on what another nation might do in the future. Second, we are not helpless while we are giving Iraq more rope; the whole world will be watching.

Third, the goal of a risk-free America, at any cost to other nations, is out of touch with reality, and its pursuit is bound to fail. And, fourth, we know that an American war against this distant nation in the heart of the Muslim world will cause increased hatred and terrorism against America for years to come.

Why not, then, play the inspection game out a bit further in an effort to obtain U.N. support for military action?

If that is not forthcoming, we are no worse off. And, who knows, as the pressure builds, Iraq might even fold.

Taylor McLean


In his speech to the United Nations, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell confirmed for us that Saddam Hussein is a bad man. However, his assertion that Mr. Hussein has ties to al-Qaida is disputed by FBI and CIA operatives.

The inspections are already doing a good job of disarming Mr. Hussein. The only credible reason to make war on Iraq now is for oil, and the American people know there are better ways than war to keep our engines running.

Joan K. Parr


Appeasing Hussein could cost us lives

I couldn't disagree more with The Sun's assertion that, "a unilateral American war against Iraq ... would invite the most serious consequences for the United States" ("Iraq and the world," editorial, Feb. 6).

The most serious consequences to the United States will occur if we do nothing and Saddam Hussein does indeed possess chemical and biological weapons.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's address to the United Nations was an admirable attempt to convince other nations of the need to remove Mr. Hussein from power.

But as a nation we cannot allow the whims and fancies and internal political machinations of other nations to dictate the security needs of our own people.

If we appease, look the other way or ignore the problem to placate world opinion, we may ultimately pay for our magnanimity with our lives and, ironically, even the lives of those defending this Iraqi dictator.

Edward Schnaper


Don't bash nations still seeking peace

So Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld believes he can take the United Nations to task ("U.N. and NATO get a rebuke from Rumsfeld," Feb. 9)?

The United States seems to think the United Nations and NATO must do its bidding. But I thought the purpose of the United Nations, and of NATO, was to try to prevent war.

Yet the arrogant U.S. administration bashes the French, Russians, Chinese and Germans for doing just that.

Sylvia Eastman


U.S. will need help to reconstruct Iraq

Thomas Friedman is right: A war to disarm Iraq must also transform it from a rogue, totalitarian state to "a progressive model to spur reform ... around the Arab world" ("Will the neighbors approve?" Opinion

Commentary, Feb. 6). We and our allies will have to join over the long haul to reconstitute a defeated Iraq.

President Bush has demonstrated much of the audacity necessary for such a project, but little of the sagacity. His go-it-alone rantings have worried his own citizens and split the gulf war alliance his own father cemented.

The president needs to stop soloing and get everyone singing from the same hymn book before taking on Iraq.

Eric P. Stewart


Prepare for attacks the war will prompt

Since it has become obvious the United States is bent on going to war with Iraq, now might be a good time for Americans to begin preparing themselves for the counterattacks here and abroad that are sure to come.

Garland L. Crosby Sr.


Using terror alert to frighten public

There may indeed have been good reasons to raise the national terror alert last week from "code yellow" to "code orange" ("High alert leaves N.Y. wary but undaunted," Feb. 9), but I'm sure that many people's first response to the news was to take it as one more attempt by the Bush administration to frighten the American public.

We have become wary - not only of the threat of terrorism but of the administration's repeated attempts to play on our fears. Whenever the polls begin to reflect skepticism about the wisdom of our Iraq policy, the administration plays the terrorism card and sounds another alarm.

In this case, they could be justified. But who knows? They've made it difficult to trust them.

Neil Hertz


What if your child had to go to war?

I keep hearing about the percentage of Americans who favor war with Iraq. I wonder if the polls are asking the right question.

If we asked how many people would be in favor of war with Iraq if their sons were among the soldiers who would fight in the war, I'll bet the percentage in favor of a war would fall drastically.

Albert M. Harris


Slots could be boon to state treasury

I'm all for slots in Maryland, not only at the racetracks but at the Inner Harbor too. Why should Delaware and New Jersey get millions of dollars a year from Maryland residents?

Why don't we bring some people down from Delaware and New Jersey to tell Marylanders how casino money has helped those states.

Margaret Rahe


Bad time to mandate all-day kindergarten

We do not have enough teachers or enough classrooms for our current classes. We use long-term substitutes and trailers to get by. And the teachers we do have are not all fully certified.

Therefore, we should put all-day kindergarten in selected schools where the need is greatest, instead of mandating it for every school in the state ("Getting off to a good start," Feb. 6).

We should also be looking into ways to attract new teachers while finding incentives to keep seasoned teachers in the profession.

Walter Hayes


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