US Must Pursue Peace in the Persian Gulf and the World

I am one of the millions of Americans who oppose risking even one American life in a war that the US has spent more than 10 years helping to precipitate. George Bush has chosen repeatedly to ignore Saddam Hussein's villainy. When Saddam's troops invaded Iranian territory, the US chose to turn a blind eye, hoping that a murderous dictator would engage a religious zealot in a ruinous war, thereby weakening two troublesome Middle Eastern countries. Where were Mr. Bush's outrage and rhetoric opposing aggression then?

Bush must receive a mandate to rise for once as a world statesman to lead this nation and to urge others to lead their nations in pursuing peace relentlessly, assertively, and creatively - not merely for six months, but for all time. To do less is to deny peace and freedom as goals worthy of long-term sacrifice and commitment.

Marjorie Walsleben, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

America has gone to war. Since the UN Security Council voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq, there has been no softening of prewar rhetoric from either side. Our administration expressed nothing but cynicism at the prospect of peace, increased our ``peacekeeping force'' to nearly half a million, and insisted that economic sanctions were not enough. Our leaders decry the notion of blood for oil, but it seems certain that if Kuwait were not the third-largest reserve of oil and our legislators were not beholden to their oil-industry constituency, we would certainly not have initiated war. I have seen no administrative effort to promote the need for alternative renewable fuels. As we face global warming, drought, and increased oil-related pollution, and as we engage in a war defending our nation's right to the reserves of this ``vital'' resource, I ask when the right time to pursue available alternatives will be?

Woody Harrelson, Los Angeles

Protect Arab-Americans' rights In the wake of Saddam Hussein's threats of terrorist strikes, federal law-enforcement agencies have stepped up their scrutiny of Iraqis and other Arab groups in the US. Iraqi military forces seized thousands of Kuwaiti passports last August and officials fear they may be used by terrorists to enter the US illegally.

FBI agents are interviewing business and community leaders of Arab descent seeking information about possible Iraqi terrorist activities. Officials say increased attention to the Arab community in the US is a necessary precaution, but that such actions might increase the risks of unfairly linking Arab-Americans to Iraq.

We are concerned that the legitimate need for the FBI to protect domestic security might become tarnished by overly zealous political investigation and might result in violating the civil rights of innocent Arab-Americans. The Japanese-American experience after Pearl Harbor provides a precedent for our concern. Necessary actions to protect US security must be protective of the civil rights and liberties of Arab-Americans.

Judith H. Obermayer, Boston, The American Jewish Committee

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