Sunday, October 19, 2003

Readers respond to weapons
of mass destruction question

Does the failure to find any stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, so far, mean that it was wrong for the United States to invade that country? We asked readers to answer that question on the cover of last week's Forum section. Here are some of your responses.

There's no excuse for what U.S. did

David Kay's report failed to show that the Bush administration was just in its pre-emptive attack on Iraq. In fact, no number of excuses can justify what our president has led this country to do. There is no justification for the destruction of God's good Earth and the taking of innocent lives, both military and non-military. How long will it take to clean up the pollution of the Earth that was bombarded by America's weapons of mass destruction? And no amount of money can replace the damage done to the people who were harmed by war, including Americans.

Odessa W. Hooker, North Avondale

Make wealthy who benefit pay

I never believed that Iraq was a threat to us, and I was opposed to the war. I believed the United Nations inspectors who determined that most of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed. Hence, the lack of a big stockpile of weapons of mass destruction was expected and confirmed my earlier judgment. I also believed that Osama bin Laden was indeed an enemy of Saddam Hussein.

However, after the fall of Saddam, al-Qaida and other Islamic militants entered Iraq to cause trouble. Although I thought that Saddam was evil, I do not think we should take on all dictators and be at perpetual war to get to peace. I believe that we went to war for the oil that is underneath Iraq and to make the oil companies rich. It seems that the war will not only make President Bush's buddies rich but will make us poor.

If we really need to pay $87 billion for this year's war effort, I think we need to repeal all the tax breaks given to the wealthy who are benefiting from this war. We could have used this money to gain energy independence by investing in renewable energy such as windmills and photovoltaic cells.

Joan Friedland, Pleasant Ridge

Thanks, Bush, for doing right thing

I don't think we need to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We removed a terrible man who has killed thousands and thousands of people. President Bush has done the right thing in invading Iraq. I would rather have attacks in Iraq than in the United States. If people would read the whole reports of David Kay's, they would know that Iraq has weapons to destroy all of us.

Remember 9/11?

Because of the president's firm actions, we have not been attacked in this country since. Thank you, President Bush.

Deirdre C. Mueller, Evendale

War was just, but where will it lead?

I said at the beginning that America's invasion of Iraq was not about weapons of mass destruction. It was about ousting Saddam Hussein, Hitler of the Middle East, from power, installing a government friendly to the West, and diminishing financial aid to al-Qaida. The weapons of mass destruction theory was an easy reason to justify the war. Everyone is afraid of nukes and biological weapons, and while it has been proven that Iraq had the components for producing weapons of mass destruction, the finished product has never been found.

Was America right in attacking Iraq? Yes, based upon the clear and present danger that Saddam's regime presented to the West as a promoter of terrorism.

It is disturbing that we keep losing American servicemen daily as we fight to cleanse Iraq of Saddam's influence, but violent death is the horrible price of war. My fear now is that Iraq is only the first leap into a full-fledged battle with the Middle East.

I am certain that we will soon be into Syria and Iran, and without the allied support of other democratic nations, which has been pitifully lacking thus far, can we win? From a pure money standpoint, can our nation afford it?

Michael J. Matre, Fairfield

U.S. had no right even if weapons found

Before the United States and Britain invaded Iraq, our government assured us that our troops would find great heaps of weapons of mass destruction in addition to supplies of biological poisons.

Although we have torn up the country and killed or seriously disabled too many young people - theirs and ours - still nothing has been found. Even if we had found weapons of mass destruction, we would still have had no right to invade Iraq. Saddam Hussein was not a nice guy; he killed lots of his own people.

Is the United States to go around the world invading countries that have tyrannical, inhuman rulers? I don't think so.

Alice Dougan, Clifton

Think of Saddam terrorizing a school

The Iraqi invasion was justified based on the evidence at the time. A gas or biological attack on one of our friendly nations would have been a horrible tragedy. Had it happened, the question of the day would be to ask, "How could we be so negligent?"

Now it looks like it could not have happened, but Saddam was like a suspect with a prior conviction of assault with a deadly weapon, roaming the halls of a school, and leveling his gun at the students. We knew he had shot before. When asked over and over again to stop pointing his gun at the kids and he didn't, he was shot severely several times and his gun taken. Who would have blamed the person who shot him because the gun was later found to be empty?

For some, I guess the only time to act justifiably is when there are students lying on the floor bleeding, or when our strategic allies are dead by the tens of thousands. Heaven forbid that they are ever in charge should such a crisis arise where my kids go to school, or again when a similar decision faces the United States.

Carl A. Enslen, Mason

Bush met no prior standards for war

A big yes, it was wrong, but not primarily because of the lack of weapons of mass destruction. In the past, a country had to attack America, one of our allies, or create such a severe humanitarian situation that the United Nations agreed to intervention by force.

The Bush team's invasion of Iraq met none of those standards and was a major league shift in historic policy. I was against the invasion despite Saddam Hussein's genuinely evil ways. I took that position although I bought into the information that said he had some weapons of mass destruction. The fact that Saddam apparently had none reinforces the United Nations' credibility and strengthens arguments against the invasion.

Most important, what do we do now? We must not just pull out; we created the present mess and it is our moral and financial obligation to create the self-sustaining Iraq that most of that country's citizens seem to want.

Don Lenz, Colerain Township

Bush should keep personalities out of it

I still believe that the hidden motivator behind the president's invasion of Iraq was a personal vendetta of the two President Bushes and Saddam Hussein and sons.

President Bush thus forced himself to grasp at straws with which to fabricate an acceptable justification. Still, the best answer to the justification question will be found within the countries that refused to support, or reluctantly supported, the U.S. hostilities in Iraq.

Steve Link, Deerfield Township

Bush is front man for rich controllers

The failure to find weapons of mass destruction should show the American public that the Bush administration was completely wrong to attack Iraq. The world was going through the process at the United Nations of deciding if Iraq should be attacked. Bush claimed, quite forcefully, that we as a nation couldn't wait any longer because of weapons of mass destruction aimed at our country - the mushroom cloud scare.

When will people open their eyes and ears and listen to all the evidence that show Bush up for what he is - a front man for rich, controlling men?

Deborah Mauk, Mount Airy

Iraq did not live up to agreement

Not finding weapons of mass destruction does not bother me one bit. Iraq lost a war it started in 1991 and signed an agreement for open inspections. Iraq failed to live up to this agreement and the United Nations did nothing to keep it in force. This lack of enforcement was a slap in the face to all freedom-loving nations. Unfortunately, only Britain and the United States had the courage to enforce this agreement with this nation, that has a history of being untrustworthy.

Robert Hasselfeld Sr., West Chester

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Readers respond to weapons of mass destruction question