Powell in Mideast

* It appears as though Secretary of State Colin Powell does not really have an understanding of the problems of the Middle East and the cause of all the tragedy that has been going on between the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority and the uncontrolled Palestinian militias (“Powell Finds Little Give in Mideast Impasse,” Feb. 26). When he calls on Israel and the Palestinians to end the violence, he fails to realize that it is the Palestinian Authority and its allies who are controlling the violence. He is trying once again to be an honest broker, but he fails if he doesn’t understand that if the Arabs would refrain from violence they would have nothing to complain about on the issues of closures, jobs, exports and imports. It will be tragic if the Israelis give in by reopening closures and restrictions before the Palestinians change their aggressive military tactics. Powell should lay the law down to Yasser Arafat that any economic hardship is the Palestinians’ own doing.

We are still dealing with Saddam Hussein. What has Powell’s Desert Storm contributed to the stability of the area? Fix and neutralize Saddam and then move on.


San Diego


* The celebration over the 10-year anniversary of the Gulf War with many of our current and former leaders present shows our nation’s collective stupidity (“Kuwait’s Enduring Wounds,” Feb. 26). We supplied our troops (at a loss of 148 GIs) and weapons to save their entire nation and all its oil. To thank us, you’d think Kuwaitis would give us oil at their cost, or 10% of the action. Instead, they stick it to us with the other OPEC countries, to cause our current recession with oil at $30 a barrel! Next time they or the Saudis want our help, we should obtain a quid pro quo. They don’t have the manners to appropriately show their gratitude.