I was shocked reading Elie Wiesel's March 11 commentary, "Peace Isn't Possible in Evil's Face," in which this winner of the Nobel Peace Prize advocated war. It seems paradoxical that a man of peace would urge this country to go to war against a country that is no immediate threat to us, nor has any proven link to Al Qaeda. By contrast, another winner of the same prize, Jimmy Carter, opposes the war for the reason that Iraq is no immediate threat to this country.
Wiesel's comparison of Saddam Hussein to Hitler seems farfetched. Hussein is as evil as Hitler, but there the comparison ends. Hitler started World War II; Hussein invaded his neighbor, Kuwait, and waged war with Iran. To go to war on the basis of such "evidence" is not only irresponsible but reprehensible. Why not let the inspectors finish their job? If they report Hussein guilty as charged and the U.N. Security Council so finds, then use of force may be required.
Your juxtaposition of Wiesel's analysis of Iraq and Robert Scheer's sneering anti-Bush diatribe ("When Bombs Fall, U.S. Will Join Ranks of War Criminals," Commentary, March 11) is a dramatic demonstration of rational, compassionate argument versus demagoguery. Wiesel carefully presents his reasons for removing Hussein with a clarity and civilized persuasiveness that even those who disagree can respect.
Poor Scheer can barely write a sentence without criticizing President Bush or America but finds it impossible to include a single negative word about Hussein.
His fantastic claim that a single maimed Iraqi civilian would constitute a war crime if the United States attempted to liberate Iraq, coupled with the absence of any concern for the Iraqis maimed and killed every year by Hussein, demonstrates just how utterly hollow Scheer's rhetoric really is.
I couldn't agree more with Scheer's column. In fact, with the building of the 21,000-pound bomb (March 12), the president and members of his administration should be indicted on war crimes if civilians are killed during an attack on Iraq.
Wiesel and Scheer are two trustworthy and honorable commentators who have viewed the facts at their disposal and arrived at different conclusions on the question of whether our country should initiate a preemptive war in Iraq. Short of adherence to knee-jerk ideology, how best ought concerned citizens decide this matter for themselves? The standard I have used is to ponder, given two years to observe our president's words and actions, whether George W. Bush is a trustworthy and honorable man. I have concluded it is best not to engage in this war at this time.