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President Bush's Iraq policy based on duty

Re: We should seek peaceful ways to solve problems.

The letter writer unravels her case for pursuit of "a path of peace, not war" when she hurls ridiculous accusations at President Bush.

Reasonable people do not believe that the United States will attack Iraq in an attempt to "control the world oil market," nor would the results of the recent election indicate that the Bush administration represents the "special interests of oil" but rather the majority of Americans.

I fail to understand how anyone can believe that the possibility of an attack on Iraq might increase the prospects of increased terrorism against Americans and why it should play any part in the decisionmaking process. We, and other Western nations, are already under such attack! It is precisely because of this that war is being considered.

Finally, the American voter obviously does not believe that our democracy has been hijacked by the Bush "oiligarchy." Exactly which civil liberties does the letter writer believe that we have lost?

Many of us are disturbed that this country might contemplate pre-emptive military action against any nation. We are also alarmed at the prospect of a hostile government developing weapons of mass destruction and supplying them to terrorists or other proxies. I am sure that the Bush administration has these same concerns, but I am equally sure that our leaders are approaching this problem from a position of duty and honor rather than greed.

Stephen Small, Indian Rocks Beach

Outrageous criticism

Re: We should seek peaceful ways to solve problems, letter, Nov. 13.

It is outrageous for any Muslim-American to criticize the president without first condemning the murders by Muslims on Sept. 11, without condemning the fundraising by American Muslims to support the families of suicide bombers, without condemning Arab Muslim states for incarcerating American Christians, without condemning Arab Muslim states whose governments are not democracies and openly or tacitly support terrorism, and without condemning Muslim clerics who support terrorism.

Jack Vanderbleek, St. Petersburg

Appreciating free speech

Re: We should seek peaceful ways to solve problems.

Why doesn't the Muslim-American mother-teacher who wrote the letter of "appeal to all Americans during this month of Ramadan . . . to pursue a path of peace, not war" make that appeal for peace to her radical terrorist brethren?

Instead, she attacks America, where she is free to practice her Muslim-American mother-teacher teachings without fear of persecution. If she were a resident of any of the Muslim-controlled countries that she obviously seeks to protect, and dared to write a letter criticizing that government as she does ours, she would learn what the right of free speech really is.

Risa Tarouk, Clearwater

Stay the course with Iraq

Saddam Hussein has been dancing a tightrope on the world stage for nearly a quarter of a century and I'm one American who is grateful that the curtain will soon ring down on his performance. This outrageous and unscrupulous Iraqi leader has persecuted and murdered thousands upon thousands of his own people, lied to the international community and thumbed his nose at the United Nations 16 times. Enough is enough.

To believe that he will comply with the specific deadlines and requirements outlined by the U.N. Security Council is a bit much for any reasonable individual who knows Hussein's history. I understand and respect the attempt to work this out diplomatically one last time. It is always best to go into war with as much international support as possible. But the trust factor and the reality scale both have to be measured. Our president must stay the course and act _ alone or with others _ to eliminate this threat to our security once and for all.

Kevin B. Kamen, Palm Harbor

Stand behind your government

I noticed your Nov. 13 letters were all opposed to a potential war with Iraq. It's interesting that you didn't publish what I believe most people feel: "Do whatever it takes to keep our freedom."

I'm tired of hearing about the children, oil and various religions and how they will be affected. There are some very, very determined people out there who will not stop until they either kill themselves in an attack on American interests or are killed by someone else.

The people in Washington are highly trained political and military strategists who are aware of things that you and I have no visibility to. Can you imagine how many threats, situations and life-affecting decisions a high-ranking military or political official makes during a week? How can the average Joe on the street say going to war with Iraq is a bad idea? What should we do? Sit back and wait to be attacked when we hear terrorists telling us they will not stop until the United States of America is destroyed? Give me a break. If it's us or them, I choose us, and I believe our government when they say we may need to attack Iraq to keep our freedom.

If this country goes to war, I'll do what I can to contribute to the effort. Given that I'm 35, I probably won't be going to any front lines, but I'll certainly roll up my sleeves and do as much as I can wherever I can to defend our freedom.

Here's a question: If we could have made an offensive move against a known terror organization or country and prevented airliners from crashing into our buildings on Sept. 11, should we have? Of course!

So let's stand behind our government and do what it takes to keep our freedom. The whole reason you can voice your opinion in the first place is because you live in a free nation.

Paul S. Sliwa, St. Petersburg

Ideals won't protect us

Re: Hasn't there been enough war? letter, Nov. 13.

The letter writer is right to point out that love of family and self-preservation are universal themes, but he and other recent letter writers miss the point of war against Iraq.

No one wants war. But would you go on forever giving Saddam Hussein _ a lying dictator responsible for genocide, terrorism against his own people and the murder of his own children _ the benefit of the doubt, letting him do as he will without consequences?

Picture a different family scenario: your Iraqi counterpart _ by all accounts a good man _ being dragged from his home in the middle of the night because some official thinks he has done or said something against the government. Just imagine the interrogator's willingness to torture the man's grandchild in front of him to get a confession. Imagine that child's lifeless body being discarded in a back alley as a warning to all the other fathers.

Read your Bible again. The God of the Bible does use wars and power to defend and protect, to punish sinners and societies of sinners. Your compassion is sincere but holds little meaning for the bad people of the world who don't give a hoot about your ideals. Now what do you do?

Marie Hickman, Clearwater

Oil is the problem, not the solution

Re: Let Iraq's oil cover war costs, letter, Nov 13.

I was astonished and amused at this letter to the editor. The writer feels that our military should confiscate and operate Iraq's oil production on a 50/50 basis until we are paid back the cost of military action.

Doesn't he get it? The only reason for President Bush's incessant demand for war is to capture Iraq's oil. Anyone who hasn't gotten that by now isn't thinking. Bush is willing to sacrifice our kids for oil. Wake up!

J. Fowler, Tampa

What compensates for lost life?

Re: Let Iraq's oil cover war cost.

I'd like to thank the letter writer for offering a splendid plan for extracting payment from Iraq for the cost of attacking them. I have no doubt we will squeeze every bit of proceeds from their oil to cover the cost of war and more.

There is one more problem, though, that the writer has overlooked. What can Iraq pay us for the loss of up to 30,000 servicemen who are expected to die during the invasion?

Jim Bedinghaus, St. Petersburg

A familiar-sounding story

Re: Iraqis vent bile at U.N. demand, Nov. 12.

As I read this article, it struck me; this all sounds very familiar. The Iraqi parliament said it ultimately will trust whatever President Saddam Hussein decides. Also, Salim al-Koubaisi, the head of the Iraqi Parliament's foreign relations committee, advised deferring to the "wise Iraqi leadership" to act as it sees fit to defend Iraq's people and dignity. Sounds a bit like another world leader we all know.

Pete Hines, Tampa

Waiting for another attack

Re: Bin Laden tape may bring attacks., Nov. 14.

This headline let me know that we are no safer at this very moment than we were prior to Sept. 11, 2001. Here we are 14 months later and Osama bin Laden is still on the loose and laughing at our nation. In the meantime, President Bush, to save face, is trying to launch a war against Saddam Hussein.

The war against Iraq is strictly a war about oil, and how much money the rich will make. This is not the war against terrorism. Iraq needs to be put on a back burner, and we need to concentrate on Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan.

We have already had attacks in Bali and other overseas destinations. Does George Bush feel we should wait until Osama launches another attack against us, while he worries about oil interests in Iraq?

Nina Gatti-Lynch, Seminole

Teach boys about domestic violence

Re: Time for Your TV Rants, Nov. 11.

It is unfortunate that the Family Violence Prevention Fund's public service announcement (PSA) aired during children's programming on a local cable station. It is not our intention that the spot run at that time. It is designed to reach adults, not children.

Your reader was able to stop her local cable company from running the PSA at an inappropriate time. But stopping children from witnessing violence in real life is much more difficult, and the lessons children learn from such incidents should concern us all.

That is why the Family Violence Prevention Fund launched the Coaching Boys into Men campaign, the first national education campaign ever to invite men to help stop domestic violence. The campaign encourages men to teach boys that violence against women is always wrong.

The best time to stop abuse is before it begins. Fathers, coaches and other men have the power to teach boys that violence doesn't make you a man. These PSAs are part of a campaign that gives them the tools to do just that.

Esta Soler, president, Family Violence Prevention Fund,

San Francisco

Share your opinions

We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or by e-mail to letterssptimes.com (no attachments, please).

They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

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