I was waiting to get on a plane Monday night when President Bush gave his speech. Travelers gathered around the TV monitor to listen. The mood was solemn. When Bush talked about going to save the Iraqi people from their lawless leaders, the women on either side of me muttered, "Yes, we are going to save you by killing you -- aren't you glad?"
I dreaded the day we announced our intent to bomb the hell out of Iraq, against the better judgment of the world, but I did not know exactly how I would react. I thought I might be angry. Instead, I cried. What a sad, sick, shameful day for America.
This so-called "end of diplomacy" has confirmed for me what I have suspected all along: The Bush administration's attempts at diplomacy in the United Nations and its call for inspections have been nothing but a pretext and a sham.
The administration's true goal all along has been to wage war against Iraq. At this time, when inspections seemed to be working, and when the U.N. Security Council does not agree with the need for the use of force, it is declared that diplomacy has failed and the bombs must fall.
The failure of diplomacy has not been the fault of the French or of the Security Council. It rests squarely on the shoulders of this president and his administration, who have attempted to bully and bluster their way to war, without regard to the opinions of others. What a dangerous example we are setting in this, the 21st century -- that violence still is the only way to solve the world's problems.
Your Tuesday editorial agrees with President Bush that the U.N. Security Council "has not lived up to its responsibilities." The only thing the Security Council has failed to do is sanction the war that the Bush administration so desperately wants. For that, the members of the council should be proud.
I believe the ultimatum presented by Bush to Saddam Hussein is fair. Hussein has been given many opportunities to disable Iraq's weapons, and he has not fully cooperated. It's time we take action.
Hussein could win this war overnight by going into exile and leaving our war hawks in the lurch.
I try to read The Times every day but I must have missed the edition when Bush went to Congress for a declaration of war, as required by the Constitution.
This administration is trying to give Americans the idea that this will be a relatively bloodless war, swift and surgical. But its morally repugnant buzzword "shock and awe" should give every one of us pause. The Bush administration intends to drop more bombs in a 24-hour period than have ever been dropped in one place in the history of mankind. "Shock and awe" will, in reality, be bloody murder and mayhem to civilian Iraqis. And, oh, by the way, 50% of the Iraqi population are children.
As a British expatriate, I am proud that Prime Minister Tony Blair, like Bush and the administration, is standing firm in his resolve in spite of the protests and other voices of dissent. So many seem to be blinded to the fact that a united front against brutal dictators like Hussein would do more to avert war than any other course of action.
Because he is encouraged by these people, Hussein is in fact bringing about war and is obviously quite willing to take many of his people down with him. The unfortunate part is that when he sees all is lost in battle, he is likely to use those hidden weapons of mass destruction on our forces and others. It will be too late then for France, Germany and Russia to apologize.
Robert J. Evans
Someone needs to remind Bush that the real immediate threat to this country is North Korea and that the acts of terror committed against this country came from Saudi nationals. His distortion of facts and lame subliminal attempts to talk us into this war are insulting. It is about the oil. I found his speech disgusting.
The pope should take the next plane to Baghdad. His presence could possibly create enough shock treatment to avert the madness of war.
Does anyone else find it ironic that Bush is willing to ignore or defy the U.N. in order to punish Hussein for ignoring and defying the U.N.?
Daniel Terris is right on the mark claiming that "Being Antiwar Isn't Enough" (Opinion, March 16). It is easy to be against something -- being against requires no thought. To be effective, antiwar proponents should have something tangible to offer as a solution to the problem being addressed.
Being "for peace" is not enough if one does not determine what "peace" is or how it is to be achieved. One may or may not agree with the administration's position of unilaterally attacking Iraq. If one is opposed, then offer a viable alternative to achieving the same goals of freeing the Iraqi people and removing the danger to the rest of the world. Of course, if one sees no danger, that is another matter.
I take exception to only one of Terris' statements: We are not in a rush to war. The U.N. has been dithering about Iraq for at least 12 years, if not longer. Ask the Kurds or the Iranians.
James S. McBride Jr.
Our great country is fortunate that Bush is not president during a war that we could actually lose.
The U.S. will survive this manufactured crisis -- even if Hussein, Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and thousands of young Americans and Iraqis do not -- because we have the opportunity for our own "regime change" in 2004. By that time, as we borrow billions to occupy various countries around the world, it is hard to imagine that our economy will be any better. Or that we will be any more secure from terrorist attacks at home.
No doubt about it -- Bush's place in history is secure.
Conrad J. Doerr