Regarding your Jan. 17 article "Antiwar activists reaching past usual suspects": Those protesting the possible war against Iraq certainly have a right to do so. However, it is unfortunate that many of them, as during the Vietnam era, are students from college campuses across the country and are protesting the war for the wrong reasons, based upon the wrong facts. The nation's colleges and universities have presented liberal and biased views to their students regarding the national security policy of the US. These protesters who claim they know what the war is all about - oil and putting money in the rich white man's pocket - do a disservice to our military and our nation.
Thousands of US soldiers in Vietnam gave their lives in what turned out to be an unsuccessful effort directly because of the war protesters. If those speaking out against attacking Iraq are successful today in their quest, then when the next major terrorist attack against America comes, they should not consider themselves guiltless in having placed the national security of this country in jeopardy. I hope that this is not what it will take to convince today's war protesters that they are wrong.
In response to "Antiwar activists reaching past usual suspects": Many people in our nation believe there are better ways of dealing with Iraq than by resorting to war. To go to war without the solid support of one's own people is the surest recipe for failure.
Making the prospects of war even worse, most of the world's nations doubt the wisdom of going to war with Iraq. If their aid in such an effort is not forthcoming, it will leave the US to bear the brunt of the tragic human and economic costs of this war. President Bush seems unaware of how valuable it is to have the support of the world's people. We can only hope he will not underestimate the importance of the support of his own people.
Rio Rancho, N.M.
Regarding your Jan. 17 article "Block to block combat": Millions of our tax dollars are going to train US troops for street-to-street fighting in Baghdad.
When I was in Beirut in October, a woman said to me, "Why does your president want to go to war when he does not have to? We had war for 15 years, all for nothing. He talks about street-to-street fighting in Baghdad: He should come here and see what street-to-street fighting does." She gestured to the burned-out skeletons of buildings behind her.
Perhaps President Bush should go see for himself the results of urban fighting in a real city, not the props in a Louisiana bayou.
Taxpayers' funds would do so much more for feeding hungry children, sheltering the working poor, and providing medical care for those who cannot afford insurance. Is it any surprise our government does not seem very popular with the rest of the world?
Bernice L. Youtz
Regarding "Block to block combat": Close-quarter fighting in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq will not be easy for US forces. The new "leaner, meaner" US Army has tried to pick conflicts where its losses could be contained and limited. It has done this in response to public and political concern that large troop losses on the scale of Vietnam are no longer acceptable. In addition, the Army has extremely limited replacement capacity for skilled troops lost in battle.
If you thought the movie "Black Hawk Down" was bad, just wait until our troops are "Bogged Down in Baghdad."
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.