A 'holy war' can't be won with tanksWith the Cold War...

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November 27, 1990

A 'holy war' can't be won with tanks

With the Cold War ended and the Soviet threat gone, our people and our Congress have been pressing for a "peace dividend," a reduction in our military budget by as much as 50 percent.

And now comes the takeover, with President Bush declaring that not only must we defend Saudi Arabia from an invasion but we must free Kuwait and stop Saddam Hussein and other future Hitlers. How can we think of cutting defense? It worked: There is no peace dividend; we saved just $3 billion from a $278 billion defense budget.

Iraq had been pressing OPEC to reduce oil output and thus raise prices. All Saddam wanted was to recover a former Iraqi province and thus stop Kuwait from cutting OPEC-set prices. Had he intended to take over Saudi Arabia he would have done so then and there, and easily, since forces were no better prepared than Kuwait's. It would have been impossible to

dislodge him without his destroying the Saudi oil fields and ancillary facilities which would have taken years to replace.

Two days before the invasion the U.S. saw no reason to come to Kuwait's aid if attacked. There is no evidence Saddam intended to take over all the gulf oil fields; the increase in oil prices is our doing.

To Arabs in the oil-rich kingdoms, the gulf oil belongs to them, but to the vast majority of Arabs the oil is a gift from Allah to all Arabs. An estimated 80 percent live in poverty. To counter Bush, Saddam Hussein now is preaching his version of fundamentalism: The enemies of God are the gulf sheiks, America and Zionism; the infidels are invading our land and our holy places; the impoverishment of the Arab people is due to the unholy alliance between these traitors and infidel America; we must obey the commands of Allah and destroy them.

Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Kahamenei, now calls for a holy war. News stories report that "millions in Iran protest posting of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia." The Wall Street Journal reports Syrian President Assad's "sending troops to the front of a potential war in which most Syrians would rather be in the opposing trench" produced a mass march on Damascus which had to be controlled with gunfire. Jordanian civilians are preparing "to counter an Israeli attack." Demonstrations are reported in Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania.

We might well have engendered more than a war against Iraq. Jihads (holy wars) motivated by fanatical mullahs to kill infidels with assurance of quick passage to heaven are not stoppable by tanks and aircraft. Our friendly suppliers of oil could be gone and replaced by not-so-friendly believers, Israel overwhelmed and we with more body bags.

But at least, we'll still be a real superpower.

Saul Hormats

The writer was for 37 years involved in various Defense activities including association with allies, NATO and the intelligence community. He is retired and lives in Baltimore.


War in the Mideast seems to be inevitable. We cannot afford to keep our troops there long and Saddam Hussein is not going to back down. President Bush has us backed in a corner. I believe this to be a planned action from the very beginning.

We have all heard many reasons why war should be an option. Oil is the real reason. Would the U.S. take the same action for a poor country like Syria as they are doing for oil-rich Kuwait?

Our elected officials have put us in this situation by not developing an alternative source of energy years ago. The money used for financing our presence in the gulf could have been used for this purpose. But oil companies aren't interested in alternative energy programs and for this reason, our young people are going to die.

We Americans now have a chance to stop this. If we don't, more young Americans will die in the future. We must bond together and do everything we can to prevent the body bags from coming home, as well as the pitiful sight of the wounded. We must insist on the immediate withdrawal of our troops from the gulf, leaving only a small force to help enforce the embargo.

Dorothy R. Stant


Wake up, America

Instead of seizing the opportunity to reverse the nuclear arms race and reduce our nuclear arsenal from 12,000 weapons to around 3,000 by the end of the decade, the Bush administration plans to begin a costly and dangerous new round of spending on nuclear weapons. If it gets its way, the administration will begin or continue the production of at least 10 major weapon systems designed to fight a nuclear war.

The U.S. has far more nuclear weapons than it needs to destroy the Soviet Union even if the Soviets launched a first attack, and cancellation of all of the new and unneeded weapons would reduce the federal budget deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.

No wonder we're looking at the beginnings of a very powerful nationwide taxpayers' revolution. Our politicians had better wake I.H. Desser


Disturbing indeed

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