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War's real price will be measured in the lives lost

Published Aug. 31, 2005

Our president at his news conference last week stated that "the cost of war would be taken care of in a supplemental appropriation." Treasury Secretary John Snow said we can well afford the war and we'll put it behind us. The monetary cost of this war will bill future generations trillions of deficit dollars. Tax cuts aimed at high-income earners will only increase these deficits we pass on to average citizens.

The real cost of this war will begin with the lives of average young citizens that will be lost. This loss of life in the war won't be shared by the families of our wealthiest citizens nor by our president, the administration or Congress because they aren't going to war. They don't serve in the military. They govern and they decide who dies in the war.

My hope is that our president doesn't bill the average American youth for the cost of this war. Lives are not in any supplemental appropriation that Congress can authorize. Lost loved ones are always with us. They won't ever be put behind us.

Mr. President, the average American cannot afford this war. You must weigh the cost for all America and act accordingly. Our lives, our children's lives and future are at stake now. Please don't make a decision that only a few in this country can afford.

Michael V. Benesch, St. Petersburg

Monetary cost is a red herring

There has recently been a lot of discourse about the potential cost of a war in Iraq, both in lives and money. While there is no doubt that lives will be lost on both sides in any war, the argument that the monetary cost to the United States and our allies would be prohibitive appears to me to be a red herring. Iraq has a significant portion of the world's oil reserves that can be used by the victors in a conflict to both recoup the victors' costs and rebuild the vanquished country.

I hope the debate stays focused on whether or not war is the right thing to do rather than on how much it might cost.

Thomas Fallon, Lecanto

War will add to our woes

A war on Iraq will have devastating results, beside loss of lives: a worsening economy, an increase in the threat of terrorism and in the hatred we already inspire, destabilization of the Middle East and other unforeseen effects.

Sure Saddam Hussein is an evil man and has terrible weapons (some of them we helped him acquire during his conflict with Iran) but so have we and so have many other nations. Fear of overwhelming reprisals is enough to discourage their use. He is no more a threat to us now than in the last 10 years. His neighbors do not appear worried.

There is little justification for a pre-emptive strike. Today Iraq, tomorrow North Korea _ a more dangerous foe. Then who else? We are not short of enemies!

We have not learned anything from Vietnam, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Grenada, etc. None of them was an outstanding success. And we have not caught Osama bin Laden.

We are the superpower, but what friends do we have? Tony Blair, but he does not represent the majority of the British people and he is in great political trouble. We cannot ignore the opposition of China, Russia, France, Germany and half of England and the millions of dissenting voices all over the world. The "supporters" we claim will not contribute much to the war and they will expect expensive rewards.

This administration has succeeded in replacing a surplus with deepening deficits. It has alienated our allies, and the Desert Storm coalition has vanished. We cannot stand alone for very long. We should concentrate on our enormous domestic problems: the deteriorating economy, Social Security, a health care crisis, education woes, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, illegal immigration, bulging prisons, ad infinitum.

A new book by Charles Kupchan, professor of international relations at Georgetown University, is very well worth reading. Title: The End of The American Era. Is that what we are witnessing?

Suzanne P. Coates, Sun City Center

It's time for action

After listening to the president talk last week, I feel we need to move and do it now. We cannot put this off any longer. The world has listened to enough lies and stall tactics by Saddam Hussein. He just keeps on keeping on with his lying and deceiving. As for all the antiwar demonstrations and such, how would you feel if it was one of your own family members stricken with anthrax or any other biochemical attack? This is real. Don't think it's not.

Here you have a so-called man who will shield himself from harm and let his people die needlessly for his own greed. He has not complied with demands to reveal the whereabouts of his weapons and biological agents.

The last thing we need is to treat these fine young men and women in the Persian Gulf the way our country treated the great young men and women who did their part in Vietnam, when our country called on them. Even if this Gulf War has to be seen as an unfavorable conflict, I will support everyone of our troops, men and women who are doing what their country asks of them.

Jack J. Gammon, Clearwater

Support our troops: Oppose war

Re: Tell both sides of how people feel about war, letter, March 8.

As a veteran, I wholeheartedly agree with the letter writer in her appeal to "please stop showing our troops in the Middle East that we don't care about them." The best way to support our troops is to prevent the government from needlessly sacrificing their lives. Those who uphold antiwar sentiments care more about young Americans in uniform than those who would somehow justify their grisly deaths. So please support our troops by opposing the planned invasion of Iraq.

Daryl Henegar, Pinellas Park

Do we become the rogue?

I have nothing against war as a last resort and will always support our troops on the front line. But if we bypass the United Nations and unilaterally attack Iraq without providing concrete evidence of our claims, wouldn't we be elevating ourselves to the status of rogue nation?

Avery M. Bailey, Brooksville

Don't malign the French

Re: Some turn up their noses at new French resistance, March 1.

What were you thinking? What was the purpose of printing objectionable and prejudiced comments aimed at offending the French? Your article discussed the shallow-minded few who wish to vent their frustrations with the French government for questioning our eagerness for war. In the course of this story, you dredge up old, tired and misguided jokes about French fighters and print them for a new generation. Such inflammatory bigotry should never be published against any national/ethnic/religious group!

Can we judge a nation torn to shreds by two world wars in its front yard? A nation of our "allies," who were twice invaded by a hostile neighbor while we hid across the ocean and insisted upon our neutrality? These "surrender monkeys" offered years of heroic resistance while Nazis occupied their homeland. The people of France and the many French-Americans in our country today can expect respect for their history and integrity as a people.

So now our oldest ally wishes to warn us about a hasty leap to war. And we repond with cheapness and bias. Like brats, we dump their wine and scoff at "cheese-eaters" who ruin our play. If we have so far failed to convince France of the need for a new war, blame the failure of our diplomacy or the weakness of our justifications. To malign the French people as somehow cowardly is both cruel and ignorant. And to print such bigotry is to fan the flames of hatred. Please apologize to those you have offended.

Fred Hill, St. Petersburg

Portrayal of president went too far

I was outraged reading Don Wright's March 7 editorial cartoon. While lampooning President Bush for ignoring or defying the United Nations is fair game, portraying him as flying a plane into a building is going too far. The only message that can be drawn is that Wright is equating President Bush with the terrorists of Sept. 11.

Was President Franklin Roosevelt portrayed during the 1940s with a Hitler mustache? Was President Woodrow Wilson ever portrayed with a German spiked helmet? To equate the elected leader of our country with men who are unquestionably evil is deeply and personally insulting to me.

My father fought the Nazis in Europe so that Don Wright would have the right to express his opinions and your paper would have the right to publish them. I wish your editors had used a little more discretion.

For the record, I am glad to see President Bush refusing to subjugate the sovereignty of the United States to the United Nations.

Larry W. Weld, Clearwater

A tasteless exploiting of 9/11

The Don Wright cartoon on the March 7 editorial page of the St. Petersburg Times depicting a jet flying through the U.N. building was extremely disrespectful to the people who died in the Sept. 11 tragedy and to their families. Even if one disagrees with President Bush's stance of acting to defend our country by calling Saddam Hussein's bluff with or without U.N. approval, it is in extremely poor taste to exploit the memory of 9/11 to express that opinion. The Times editorial staff should be ashamed of themselves for printing it.

Peggy Albury, St. Petersburg

Apology is due

I am utterly appalled at Don Wright's March 7 cartoon. The similarity between this cartoon and the events of Sept. 11 is absolutely shocking and horrifying. I am further dismayed to think that a newspaper of the stature of the Times would print something of this caliber. I think you owe your readers a profound apology. I hope I will never see another Don Wright "cartoon."

Linda Wood, St. Petersburg

Higher standards needed

Re: Don Wright cartoon.

The First Amendment protects journalists' opinions, but even the media must demonstrate a modicum of taste. Your March 7 reprint of a cartoon showing President Bush flying a military plane into the U.N. building, a scene eerily similar to the terrorists' 9/11 murders, was journalism at its worst. Raise your standards!

John R. Phillips, Palm Harbor

Metaphor was in poor taste

Perhaps I am being overly sensitive. It is possible I am reading too much into things. Maybe I should give the benefit of the doubt to the cartoonist who depicted George Bush "yahooing" as he smashes an airplane though the U.N. building. In this zeal to convey a political point, he probably didn't realize the degree of his poor taste in metaphors. It happens when the creative juices start flowing. But surely a red flag should have been raised by someone at the Times.

You remember that story a few years back, where those planes flew into the World Trade Center, don't you? I'm certain it was covered in your paper.

John Ford, Land O'Lakes

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