People Are Ultimately Responsible for War

Regarding the opinion-page column ``Whose War Is It, Anyway?,'' Jan. 23: I take exception to the assertion that ``war seems to rouse itself'' from time to time. In positing the existence of an autonomous entity called war, independent of the action of people, the author is flirting dangerously with fatalism. War doesn't start war, people start war. Absolving mankind for its fights is comforting but misleading. Worse, it encourages the mind-set that leads to a continuation of war. Philip Dacey, Lynd, Minn.

Why does the author say that the war currently raging in the Middle East is not only Saddam Hussein's but also George Bush's? This is music to Saddam's ears. Saddam wrapped himself in the Palestinian flag only after his hand was caught in the cookie jar - not before. Ask yourself who you would prefer as a neighbor - Saddam Hussein or George Bush. Mary Jane Laub, Homeland, Calif.

This is George Bush's war and no one else's. Samuel Starr, Montpelier, Vt.

Have we not learned from wars past? Jeff Danziger's cartoon ``Is this an Israeli woman and children hiding from Iraqi rockets or is this an Iraqi woman and children hiding from US rockets,'' Jan. 25, portrays a poignancy and compassion outstanding in journalism. It also shows the abyss of agony we are entering Roger P. Felson, Warren, Mich.

The cartoon is extremely moving. This is truly what war is all about. Are we still an uncivilized people? Have we learned nothing from wars past? How can one not talk of ``linkage'' with the Palestinian issue? Are they not, like Kuwait, captive to another government? Perhaps if the Palestinians had some oil, the US government might pay them the attention they so rightly deserve. Toby Bjornson, Philadelphia

The cartoon gives a distorted view of the conflict. How about ``Is this a Kuwaiti mother and children hiding from Iraqi butchers?'' Or have you forgotten about Kuwait? Albert G. Isaac, Winter Haven, Fla.

Making aggression unaffordable Reading the editorial ``Economics of War,'' Jan. 23, I feel a glimmer of hope for a future of world peace. Consider the choices our over-burdened economy will have to make: Whether to spend $2 billion per day or $1 million per missile on a ground war like Operation Desert Storm, or to spend $40,000 per day on a drug war like Operation Clean Sweep. Making domestic crises and ``preventative'' foreign policy a priority would save tax dollars, human lives, and environmental damage. Nations, like individuals, should not be able to spend money they do not have, or to borrow beyond reasonable limits. Like consumers who find a purchase beyond their means, perhaps nations will someday find aggression simply unaffordable. Steven Cramer, West Simsbury, CT -PATHNAME- /usr/local/etc/httpd/plweb/DBGROUPS/paper/database/tape/91/mar/week10/ed25.

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