Re "Napoleon's Blunders," Opinion, March 16: Margaret Atwood's comparison of our president to Napoleon is a stretch indeed. Her claim that Napoleon had no reason to attack Russia is wrong. Napoleon decided to punish Russia because Russia double-crossed France by going back on a treaty made after Russia and Austria lost the battle at Austerlitz. Russia agreed, as a price for peace, not to trade with Britain. Shortly after the agreement was consummated, the Russian Czar Alexander I resumed commercial ties with Britain.
France and Britain were historical enemies. Both countries vied for world supremacy. President Bush's intentions are to stop a ruthless dictator who threatens the peace and security of the world, not to gain ground.
Albert G. Silverton
How poignant! The only current empire is giving the two old empires, Britain and Spain, a nostalgic chance to fight one more colonial war. You'd think they would have learned.
Oh, for the good old days, when the French were "cheese-eating aggression monkeys."
I believe the main reason Napoleon eventually failed was not because of the folly of a preemptive strike but because of the presence of the Brits and their European allies, led by the Duke of Wellington. I do not see that same scenario developing today, unless French President Jacques Chirac is prepared to take on the role of the duke.
Corona del Mar
Like Napoleon, Bush will ultimately be defeated, and he will take the rest of the U.S. with him. I mourn for the innocent Iraqi citizens who will die, and I mourn for our great nation, which may forever lose its greatness.
Your March 16 news analysis "Why the U.S. Inspires Scorn" serves only to echo the battle cry of our enemy, or hadn't you noticed that there is a conflict of civilizations going on? Elsewhere in the same issue, a Canadian writer, Atwood -- equally scornful of our president's policies -- states the obvious: "When a whole population hates you, and hates you fanatically, it's difficult to rule."
This war was declared against us on Sept. 11, 2001, so we shouldn't expect to be loved by the people who wish to destroy us when we do whatever is necessary to make ourselves safe from them.
To suggest that universal truths emanate through the nexus of Atwood's point of view in this whimsical history lesson is farfetched and misguided. I do, however, believe her successful career as a writer of fiction is secure.
Frank O. Clark