Re "France Says It May Veto Use of Force in Iraq," Jan. 21: I am heartened by France's stated unwillingness to support the U.S. war against Iraq. Since President Bush seems to be immune to the calls of both U.S. citizens and those of the world who demand an end to this deadly course of action, perhaps more sensible leaders of other countries will be able to halt his course.
In "U.S. Insists War Up to Iraq" (Jan. 20), Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is quoted regarding the inspections in Iraq: "You could spend years and years roaming around a country that size trying to find underground tunnels and see where he's located [weapons]."
What is the rush? As long as Iraq is allowing the inspections, not acting as an aggressor, not actually doing anything to threaten the peace, what is the hurry of chancing that the sons and daughters of Americans are going to return in body bags?
The longer the inspections go on with the cooperation of Iraq, the greater the chance of a peaceful or diplomatic solution. Hell, if it goes on long enough, maybe it will give Saddam Hussein enough time to drop dead and make the whole thing moot, with the only hanging thread being who will be first to capitalize on Iraqi oil ... the Russians, who with war pending just signed a contract to help extract it, or Bush and his friends in Houston?
Several days ago I received an e-mail from an old friend urging me to telephone the White House to protest the looming war in Iraq. She mentioned that she was off to march in Washington, and I didn't get a chance to ask a few questions, such as: When the Kurds of northern Iraq were being gassed by Hussein and the marsh Arabs massacred, where were the antiwar demonstrators? On Saturday I watched the demonstrations on television. I saw lots of banners protesting the war preparations. What I didn't see were signs stating, "Saddam, take up the Saudi proposal to go into exile and save your people further suffering."
I wonder what Hussein thinks of all this. I wonder if he isn't thinking, "If I just drag my feet a little longer, maybe President Bush will drop the idea of invasion and I can continue to brutalize my people." I am glad I didn't make the call.
Perhaps gathering on the streets of Baghdad to persuade Hussein to disarm would be the most effective way for these protesters to end the possibility of war.
Is it possible that the reason for this rush to war, even though our allies are urging us to use patience and let the inspectors do their job, is that those in the Bush clique want to prove to the world that Hussein has weapons of mass destruction by sending in our troops so he will use the weapons on them? Then they can say, "Told ya so." The longer they cry out for this war and say Hussein is holding out, the more it seems as if the only way to prove he has them is to goad him into using them. If those in our government have the proof they allude to, why won't they give it to the inspectors so they can go to those places, find the weapons and end all this craziness?