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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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War Talk

To the Editor:

I cringe when the leaders of France and Germany condescendingly criticize the U.S.A.'s stance on Iraq while at the same time slap themselves on the back for being the world's champions of humanitarianism. I don't buy it.

These countries tout the virtues of "containing" Iraq when they've spent the better part of the last decade seeking to weaken U.N. sanctions and increasing trade to a country the world is attempting to isolate. They insist the U.S. obtain a Security Council resolution offering Iraq a final chance to meet its disarmament obligations, only to plead for more time when it's clear Iraq is flouting them.

The ugly truth is that their objections are to protect their financial interests as well as a desire not to be targeted by the radical Islamist groups that threaten the U.S.A. and her allies. I'd give odds that their strategy will backfire on both counts.

Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. France and Germany should know better.

Shep Fargotstein

Memphis

To the Editor:

This is the probable result of a unilateral U.S. attack on Iraq: A domestic public shocked with images of death and destruction. A world public appalled at our disregard for international decision-making processes. And finally, a pan-Arabic public divided by multiple ethnicities, religious affiliations, radical alliances, and nation states, united for the first time by a common enemy: us. Moderate Arab governments are already struggling to maintain power against grass-roots fanaticism. We would make their task far more difficult and further unite Middle Eastern radical groups, leading to the "war of civilizations" Saddam has always wanted.

The French have dealt with repeated waves of terrorist attacks over the years. They've succeeded in preventing war by solving these problems on a case-by-case basis. Dealing with insane individuals as they should be dealt with, using international cooperative networks and covert operations, in short, spy games. They have understood that the ultimate goal of terrorism is to generate confusion, unrest, and fear.

Whatever happened to the idea that the war on terrorism was a new kind of battle? When people are willing to commit suicide for a cause, war will not deter them. It will reinforce their convictions. This is not a compassionate or liberal approach to the problem. It is worthy of Henry Kissinger. His approach to world affairs was simple: Do what we need to do, because we have to do it. Not going to war with Iraq is realpolitik at its best.

Valentine Darker

Memphis

To the Editor:

History has seen the decline and fall of the Roman empire, the Napoleonic empire, the 1,000-year Reich, to name a few great civilizations. Unfortunately, it may soon see the decline and fall of the American Republic. History will state its cause as events generated by Osama bin Laden and his unwitting dupe, George W. Bush. It will show how Bush brought about a recession, created two international crises with numerous body bags, generated a stock market crisis not unlike what has happened to Japan, and changed the United States from a respected leader to a reviled bully.

Let us hope that history does not record these events. I fear that it will.

Ned Smith

Memphis

To the Editor:

With so many nations acquiring nuclear technology, the world has grown very small indeed. Today North Korea, tomorrow Iran. Who's next? With the health and well-being of humanity now residing in the hands of so many different governments -- some unstable, others fanatical -- we are at grave risk. After 50 centuries of conflict, we must finally come of age. No longer can we afford to be a world divided.

A world of warriors drunk on testosterone or religion and armed with nuclear weapons is a world doomed to destruction. National pride must be replaced with world pride. The United Nations represents one plausible means to emerge into a future of unity and peace. For our country's leaders to do whatever they please despite world opinion is profoundly shortsighted. We can't move America to another neighborhood. This country has a jury system to decide important matters. That system works. The U.N. works the same way. We cannot afford to dismiss and disdain the wishes of the rest of the world.

Like it or not, our adolescence is over, and we must have leaders of vision to uplift us to a new world unity, not drag us down into the final dark ages. It is not the U.N. that faces a "moment of truth." It is the United States.

David Singelyn

Warner Springs, California

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at letters@memphisflyer.com. All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

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