WASHINGTON - In a celebration of our free society, my e-mail bag is bursting after Wednesday's column, "Bush bungling pits U.S. against the world."
Overwhelmingly in this sample, vox populi disagrees with my view that if President Bush pre-emptively invades Iraq without U.N. sanction, it will be Mr. Bush who renders the United Nations irrelevant, not the United Nations' failure to support his action.
The e-mails lend considerable backing to one succinct personal assessment: "You, my friend, are a complete moron."
Another communicator offers that "Saddam loves your kind. He relishes the fact that there are those in America writing such harsh opinion pieces of President Bush. ... Brownshirts are alive and well in America, where you're free to dissent; sadly, in Iraq they are not."
But even more derogated via the Internet is the United Nations itself. One responder observes: "The U.N. is irrelevant and has been so for 40 years. This is as good a time as any to pronounce it dead and move on. The world would be a better place without an organization that protects the most vile of nations, which is the only thing the U.N. has been able to do consistently over the last half-century. R.I.P."
Still another writes of the U.S. quest for Security Council support of a second Bush war resolution: "Why should the U.S. care what the dictatorship of China thinks or an inconsequential nation such as France or Cameroon say? I say take the vote now, then ignore it no matter what. Show the American people the U.N. is a farce."
One correspondent agrees that "the recent diplomatic failures of the administration are troubling, however, I think these failures say more about the U.N. than they do about President Bush and Secretary [of State Colin L.] Powell. ... Do you really think the U.N. is relevant in any of today's global problems? ... As the only global superpower, we have a responsibility to do the right thing, and believe me, the U.N. is not the body to decide what the right thing is."
A like-minded contributor adds: "Mr. Bush's bungling consisted of going to the U.N. at all. ... After this is over, the U.N. will have no more moral authority. I don't see this as a bad thing. The U.N. has not kept peace since World War II."
Further sentiment toward the world body (and me) comes from a lady in Texas: "Blame Bush, my butt - you don't like our president so you have to blame him for the inactive boobs who sit on an irrelevant Security Council somewhere in New York. That bunch of socialists is what's wrong with the world, not President Bush. ... I'm sick and tired of my money going to a bunch of idiots who want to sit on their butts and criticize America."
The e-mails get even more personal.
From San Diego: "You're a sad example of an American, continually bashing our president, while for eight years giving the immoral Bill Clinton a pass. ... I'm proud that Mr. Bush is moving to oust the Hitler of the Mideast. You would have been the darling of the British 'Chamberlains' who allowed the Third Reich to flourish and kill millions of people."
And from Georgia, "A Proud Citizen" wonders: "I will cast my lot with my country. How about you?"
To a clearly nonpartisan reader, I'm "just one more of the leftist/Marxist propagandists for the Democratic Party. George Bush is a hero, second only to Ronald Reagan. He has inherited a world mess left by the admitted felon Bill Clinton."
From North Carolina: "You should have labeled your column 'Blame America,' because that is what you are doing. Oh, you try to disguise it, but your disdain for this country and what it stands for shines through."
There are also suggested travel plans for me, such as: "America, love it or leave it."
Occasionally, the e-mail bag brings such as this, also from Texas: "What we will prove if we attack Iraq without the necessary vote in the United Nations is that the U.N. is no longer relevant. We will prove that the United States has become a nation that no longer respects the rule of law. We will have become a nation that rules not by law but by force."
And from Maryland: "As the world's only superpower, it is our obligation to set a standard. What Mr. Bush is doing is setting the stage for years of anti-Americanism and more disasters than Iraq. The policy of this administration is absolutely Orwellian and terrifying." (No doubt another leftist/Marxist propagandist heard from).
Anyway, it's good to hear from all of you.
Jules Witcover writes from The Sun's Washington bureau. His column appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.