I skim through the Express frequently, but find the articles too liberal
most of the time. It‘s a well-done paper, just too far to the left for me.
However, your article, “Good Riddance, Saddam“ (Random Thoughts 3/27) was a refreshing, thoughtful piece that everyone on the political spectrum should read and take to heart.
Whether or not George Bush used the right words to convince the world of our
intent or to support our actions is irrelevant at this point. We‘re in Iraq,
we‘re doing what we can to keep civilian casualties at a minimum, and we‘re
following the rules of the Geneva Convention when dealing with Iraqi
prisoners. I believe these things are true, not because it‘s what I read or
heard, but because I believe America and Americans set a higher standard.
Those who set higher standards will always be suspected, ridiculed, and
reviled by others.
Thank you for giving those of us who lean more right than left a good
argument; I‘ve shared your article with many friends. It is, by far, the
best explanation of why we‘re in Iraq than anything I‘ve heard. Have you
ever considered a career in Presidential speechwriting?
Mary Dillon Traverse City
While reading your great editorial (“Good Riddance, Saddam“), I noted that you attributed the book “Citizen Soldier“ to the late historian Ambrose Bierce. Ambrose Bierce was a satirist who died around 1914 and while a veteran of the Civil War could not have written comments about WWII.
Betsy Baye via email
(I‘m blushing Betsy, because as any history buff knows, it was Stephen Ambrose who wrote that excellent book on the Battle of the Bulge -- must reading in this difficult time to show just how desperate warfare can be. Thanks. -- ed.)
The hunt for weapons
The war with Iraq is predicated principally on two theses: Saddam is trying to develop nuclear weapons and he has large stocks of biological and neurotoxic weapons. The nuclear weapons are a known fiction. The biological weapons are another story.
General Hussein Kamel, son in law to Saddam, defected and testified about his Iraqi weapons program in 1995, describing its extensive size, locations and nature. Because of all this, after he undefected, Saddam had him divorced from his daughter and unceremoniously killed.
But Bush and Powell now repeatedly state that there still are large quantities existing and unaccounted for. They hid the fact, until Newsweek recently blew the whistle, that Kamel also stated in a three-hour-long affidavit that he personally had seen to the destruction of these weapons in 1991. Kamel said that they dont exist.
The inspectors, confirming Kamels veracity and following Kamels directions, actually found large quantities of destroyed facilities and as-yet undestroyed feed stocks for fermenting biological weapons, which they then destroyed. Bush and Powell still say they are unaccounted for.
Hans Blix commenting on the situation in Iraq and the likelihood of there being such weapons said recently:
But having something unaccounted for is not the same thing as saying it does exist... If they dont have it, then it is very difficult for them to give the evidence. When the Americans go in, they will be able to ask people who will no longer be in fear and if the Iraqis have something, they will probably be led to it.
I am very curious to see if they find something. The paradox is, if they dont find something, then you have sent in 250,000 men to wage war in order to find nothing.
Dont wait for apologies from Camp David.
Robert E. Marshall Lake Leelanau
On Thursday, March 21, the day after the invasion of Iraq started, 40 some citizens walked into U.S. Rep. Dave Camp‘s office demanding that he attend a town meeting to publicly answer questions about the war and his support for it.
Camp agreed to a meeting on April 7, from 9:30-10:30 p.m. at the Oleson Center on the NMC campus.
While in Camp‘s office, the group of citizens sat down on the floor and came up with a list of questions they want answered. Here are a few:
“Traverse City has passed a resolution against a invasion of Iraq without U.N. support, and the U.S. is going ahead. Will you carry our opposition to this illegal and unjust war to Washington?“
“Why are you condoning a preemptive military strike that violates the United Nations Charter, the Nuremberg Charter, the Geneva Convention and the U.S. Constitution?“
“Why have there been severe cuts in benefits to veterans. Is this an example of the United States supporting our troops?“
“The cost of this invasion of Iraq is estimated at $200 billion tax dollars. Michigan is $2 billion in debt. If the federal government kept those tax dollars at home, Michigan‘s share would be $4 billion. After payment of debt, Michigan would have $2 billion available to prevent further devastation of our schools, health care, and infrastructure. Is buying bombs and funding an illegal invasion more important to you than the welfare of your constituents?“
“Will weapons that contain depleted uranium be used in this conflict? If yes, will our troops be informed? What will we do to protect them and Iraqi civilians from the effects of the depleted uranium from this war and the last war?“
Edmund Frost Beulah
Channeling the war
As I watched our nation‘s celebrities try and honor their fellow peers at the Oscars, I couldn‘t help but to find the quaint clash that seemed to loom in the evening air. On another channel our troops pushed ahead in Iraq. Our country becomes more concerned about the outcome and the future of this war. Demonstrators over the weekend planted seeds in the back of our minds. Hatred around the world for the U.S. grew by the minute. How does this all play out to the American public? The word that comes to mind is, confusion.
During intermission from the Oscars, I caught a story about an Iraqi taken prisoner during Desert Storm in ‘91. He went on to say how well the United States Army took care of him during his imprisonment. As the story wrapped up , I learned that he now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. A man that took up arms against this country 12 years earlier. I have to say that this didn‘t make me feel any better about things.
The media seems to have every angle and corner story down. From high tech video diagrams to ex military commanders putting in their two cents. You put it all together and you‘re bewildered once again. The press confuses you, the right keeps you focused on the propelling motion of its policies, and the left wants you to think about what we are actually doing over there. If you oppose the war, you‘re seen as anti-American. If you support the war, then you are a good patriot who believes everything you‘re told. You can‘t seem to win in this story and I think that is why Americans are finding it hard to form an opinion.
Near the end of my TV viewing night, there was an incident at the Oscars that caught my attention. Michael Moore spoke out against the war. He was one of many who did so, but did it in a manner which was very abrasive. He was booed off the stage for his strong opinion. Barbra Striesand was not booed off for her soft-spoken stand against the war. There were also the war supporters who said, “ God speed to our troops.“ There is no question how important it is to convey a positive message to those fighting over there, but is it done at the cost of neglecting our own opinions. Let it be said, that we are a country that is torn by this war. It may have been Hollywood, but there is something to be said here. From President Bush to Bob De Niro, we all live by the voices of our nation. Don‘t be afraid to let yours be heard.
T. Roosevelt via email