Re "An Old-Fashioned Fight," Opinion, Jan. 12: William Arkin provides telling evidence that the U.S.-United Nations dance regarding the Iraq inspection program is all just a cynical show. As part of the U.S. strategy detailed by Arkin, "Simultaneous special operations attacks would seek to capture facilities suspected of housing chemical and biological weapons."
Since we apparently have specific target information, why not turn it over to inspectors, let them blitz those sites and prove that Iraq is indeed harboring the weapons? The pressure on Iraq would be enormous to submit to disarmament or face the true combined wrath of the world.
The "why not" has to do with the actual Bush administration ambition and intention. The Bush jihadists simply seek American dominance in the Middle East and don't want any of those pesky foreigners telling us what to do. This is truly megalomaniacal and foreign to the ideals of the noble America we so cherish. Watching this willful destruction of much of what we hold dear is like watching a chainsaw murder and being helpless to do anything about it.
Re "Agenda Unmasked," by Chalmers Johnson, Opinion, Jan. 12: It is interesting to note the players on President Bush's Mideast foreign policy team. Instead of seasoned diplomats for this sensitive, powder-keg region, Bush selected hawks with an imperialist agenda, a former oil company consultant and a convicted Iran-Contra criminal. This mixture is unlikely to produce peace in the region.
The U.N. estimates the initial attack on Iraq could injure up to 500,000 Iraqis, create a million refugees, leave 10 million Iraqis without basic necessities and create an outbreak of diseases in epidemic proportions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have stated that an attack on Iraq is likely to be protracted. The leader of the Iraqi Shiites, enemies of Saddam Hussein whom Bush claims the war will "liberate," said the Shiites reject the idea of an invasion of Iraqi territory. Terrorism experts say an attack would probably increase membership in terrorist groups.
It's time the Bush administration admits that its intention to invade Iraq existed long before 9/11 and that its agenda has little to do with combating terrorism or with liberating the Iraqi people.
"Iraqi Exiles See No Hope for Nation" (Jan. 12) makes it clear that the Iraqi people have nothing to gain by having a war, so I have a modest proposal for Bush: Since U.N. inspectors are already present in Iraq, since they only represent a legal formality for the Bush administration anyway, since many of the supposed weapons of mass destruction are apparently hidden in Hussein's private domains and palaces and since Hussein himself is seen as the source of evil and a threat to the U.S., why not simply assassinate him and get it over with? Or at least arrest him and put him on trial?
Why wage a war that will kill innocent Iraqis who have already suffered at the hands of their own regime, sacrifice untold numbers of U.S. soldiers and possibly cause the Mideast to explode into a much larger war as young Muslim militants rally to oppose U.S. intervention? After all, by declaring war, aren't we doing exactly what Osama bin Laden had hoped to provoke us into doing? Of course, assassinating foreign leaders, or arresting them, violates principles of international law and the sovereignty of other nations. But then, those have never been primary concerns of the Bush administration.
Philip Kim Frasse