The president's word

A critical test of a leader's character is whether he stands by his words and deeds. In April 1991, after the end of the hostilities in Kuwait, President Bush was charged with abandoning the people in Iraq whom the United States had encouraged to rise up against their government.

A typical charge was that addressed to Mr. Bush on April 16, 1991: "... your administration estimates that up to 1,000 Kurds are dying each day. How do you reply to critics who say that you've acted too little, too late, and that you've turned your backs on the very people that you inspired to rise up against Saddam Hussein?"

Bush's replies to this charge were variations upon his assurance of April 7, 1991: "I went back and reviewed every statement I made about this, every single one. And there was never any implication that the United States would use force to go beyond the objectives which we so beautifully have achieved."

There are more than a dozen public statements on record in which Bush, during and immediately after the hostilities in Kuwait, sought to inspire the people of Iraq to rise up against Saddam. It is not surprising, therefore, that it never occurred to Bush's audiences that American force would not be used to support the uprisings he called for. George Anastaplo, Chicago Professor of Law, Loyola University

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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