Let me get this straight. The first contract for rebuilding postwar Iraq -- "to assess Iraq's oil infrastructure in the war's aftermath" -- was awarded to Vice President Dick Cheney's old employer, Halliburton Co., without any bidding (March 25)? I guess it's not about weapons of mass destruction, the gassing of innocents, 9/11, Osama bin Laden or cruelty; it's about oil and profits, after all.
You'd think the Bush spinmeisters would have the smarts to at least wait a little while. Maybe give a contract to someone else, but right off the bat they show their true colors. So while our troops are dying under the fiercest of attacks yet, while soldiers are being taken prisoner, our administration is already doling out the spoils to the inner circle. What hubris. What gall.
The most telling and perhaps the most horrifying reality of the first seven days of the war is the presence in southern Iraq of Kellogg, Brown & Root, a unit of Haliburton. While American, British and Iraqi soldiers are dying, Cheney's old company is already laying claim to millions in service contracts on Iraqi oil fields. Can anyone think of anything more reprehensible? Stop this war now.
Thomas C. Borut
Regardless of their views on the war, Americans should stand up in support of Rep. Maxine Waters' (D-Los Angeles) bill to ban from bidding on massive reconstruction projects in Iraq any companies in which current administration or Cabinet officials have held high-level positions in the last four years.
This bill would address influence-peddling and the conflict of interest involved when the same people who initiated the war may ultimately benefit from it financially. Both are ethically reprehensible and should offend the basic sense of fairness of the American people.
Barbara and Ken Tye
Re "The Wraps Come Off Bush's Colonialist Agenda," Commentary, March 25: Robert Scheer seems to have joined Michael Moore's anti-America crowd. He suggests that if no weapons of mass destruction are found in Iraq, our government may plant them. His comment is not only a slur against our country but also against Britain, Spain, Australia and all of the members of the coalition. I believe he owes us all an apology.
Re "Desperate Iraqi Villagers Awaiting Promised Aid," March 24: If the situation in southern Iraq is too dangerous for the Red Cross to bring in aid, then the U.S. Army must bring in the aid itself, preferably immediately.
This is not only a humanitarian requirement but a necessary action if we hope to be perceived by the population as liberators. Food and water now will mean much more to them than "liberation" in some indefinite future.
G. Murray Thomas
In less than a week, the U.S.-led war against the Iraqi regime appears to have become less a principled juggernaut than a train wreck in the making. Despite aid promised by the U.S. government before the start of hostilities, we have already brought some of the population to the brink of starvation because those pesky Iraqi soldiers are apparently not, as Bush put it, surrendering "gleefully." Nor are the Iraqi people arising en masse to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, the U.S. is expending its precious lifeblood, its treasure and its goodwill in a war we cannot lose.
David M. Wyman
It probably looked good on paper.
Thank you for "Relatives Calling Iraq Hear the Unheard-Of: Saddam Hussein Denounced" (March 24). That should have been on Page 1. I am so sick of the protests of the left. I think they take the freedom and liberties that we have in this country for granted and don't appreciate how hard-won they are. How any of them for one minute can think it's OK to leave someone like Hussein in power is beyond me. Do they not know the unspeakable atrocities he has committed on his own people?
Tanya Gilly's statement, "It wouldn't matter if you gave [Hussein] two more weeks, a month or even 10 years. It's in his nature to defy," spells out the bottom line. You do not negotiate with evil. You extinguish it.
Ask the people of Afghanistan if they prefer to live under the Taliban rule and be persecuted for not conforming to its strict Islamic rule or if they prefer their lives now, after their country was bombed. I believe all would say that the bombing in their country was a small price to pay for what they have now, which is freedom. Now ask the same question to those in Iraq.
On Saturday, while listening to the radio, I learned of a 4-year-old Iraqi boy who suffered burns over 70% of his body during the U.S. bombing of Baghdad, and that he was not expected to live. Go USA.