Your editorial (“Bush Sends a Clear Signal to Baghdad,” Dec. 1) posed the question as to how Hussein can “negotiate a face-saving retreat from Kuwait and avoid war.” This is an equally vexing question for the Bush Administration, which, like Hussein, has painted itself in a corner by insisting on complete withdrawal before negotiations can begin.
What may be a face-saving retreat for both sides is this: Hussein withdraws all his troops from Kuwait and allows the restoration of the Kuwait government, as the U.N. resolutions demand. In exchange, Bush and the Security Council will agree to an international conference to settle all issues in the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the interim, a U.N. peacekeeping force would replace the U.S. armed forces in Saudi Arabia.
If such a settlement could be negotiated, each side could claim victory. War would be avoided.
ROBERT S. VOGEL