Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 15, 2003

Joy of liberation could collapse as chaos grows

My happiness about the Iraqi people being freed from a brutal dictatorship currently outweighs my continuing distrust of the Bush administration ("Baghdad falls," April 10). But I fear my joy will be short-lived.

Someone had to put an end to the horrors perpetrated by the Saddam Hussein regime. It is only fitting that it should be us, since we enriched and strengthened Mr. Hussein during the years when he was the enemy of our enemy (of Iran in the 1980s).

Do the people of Iraq remember this? Do the Kurds know that at least some of the components and technology for manufacturing the chemical weapons used on them came from the United States?

And what of so many Americans' poor memory, which doesn't seem to reach back even six months ago when "freeing the Iraqi people" was merely a footnote? The first volley of pro-war rhetoric from the Bush administration tried to make us believe Iraq was conspiring with al-Qaida terrorists and would supply them with weapons of mass destruction.

But after U.N. inspectors re-entered Iraq and found little evidence of banned weapons, President Bush named his cause "Iraqi Freedom" and expressed newfound concern for the plight of Iraqi citizens.

Congratulations are due to Karl Rove and the rest of the Bush spin doctors in finding a cause even liberals had a hard time opposing.

And who can argue with cheering, happy faces welcoming our soldiers into Baghdad? Even I, a perennial liberal curmudgeon, celebrate their feeling of freedom. But do I think that this was the primary purpose of this war? No.

Do I think we'll continue to enrich despots and then have to remove them later on at great cost to human life? Yes.

And do I think we will tire prematurely of the monumental task of rebuilding Iraq and let it collapse back into chaos (as seems to be happening in Afghanistan)? Unfortunately, yes. But that will be five, maybe 10 years from now -- an eternity in the short memory of the electorate.

Daniel Hart

Baltimore

Let U.S., Britain handle postwar Iraq

Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have paid in blood. Let's honor their sacrifices and win the peace, even if that takes years.

Let's keep France, Germany, Russia and the United Nations entirely out of Iraq -- not out of revenge but in the interest of not having another war in a few years.

France, Russia and Germany nurtured and protected Saddam Hussein for 20 years. They were eager merchants of the arms he used to terrorize the population of Iraq.

The United States is not perfect, but we and Great Britain have a much better chance of developing a long-lasting democracy in Iraq than other countries would.

We U.S. taxpayers could fund this project, but why should we? The money to restore Iraq should come from its fabulous oil wealth, which will be administered by the United States.

J. G. Dimmick

Odenton

Cultural disaster in museum's ruins

At the National Museum of Iraq, a huge collection of artifacts from more than 7,000 years of civilization on the Mesopotamian plain is mostly gone, with at least 50,000 pieces carried off by mobs ("Millenniums' riches looted in just 2 days," April 13).

Museum officials said the calamity had unfolded over 48 hours, and added that the losses were probably irrecoverable and were likely to comprise one of the greatest cultural disasters in recent Middle Eastern history.

It's too bad that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and company did not guard the national museum with the same zeal with which they protected Iraq's oil wells.

Joseph Sachs

Baltimore

Looting in Iraq worse than `untidy'

Recently, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said, regarding the anarchy currently terrorizing Iraqis in large cities, "Freedom's untidy. And free people are free to commit mistakes, and to commit crimes" ("Mayhem is amok in Baghdad," April 12).

Is this guy for real? It's time for President Bush to put his roll of duct tape to good use, by taping Mr. Rumsfeld's mouth shut. This is one secretary of defense who needs to be seen but not heard.

Shireen Gonzaga

Rodgers Forge

Will we liberate Palestinians next?

After the liberation of the Iraqi people from their oppression, I hope our society, our leadership and our military can find the same compassion and energy to liberate the Palestinian people from their oppression.

Frank Smor

Baltimore

Exercise of religion is protected speech

Could The Sun's learned editors point out to me where the phrase "separation of church and state" (to which The Sun frequently refers) is found in the Constitution? I can't seem to find it ("Flunking public education," April 10).

I find the phrase, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Is this what you're talking about? But I don't recall Congress ever trying to establish a religion.

And I see no reference to the phrase in the amendment about "the free exercise thereof."

You know, like saying grace in the lunch room, praying at an athletic event or saying a prayer prior to graduation ceremonies.

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