International Consensus or World War

It can't be pointed out often enough, as did the editorial "Iraqi Brinksmanship," Jan. 13, that the world, preferably the United Nations, must stop dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic - and easily led ethnic groups such as the Serbs - before they spark a major war. Apparently this fact, as evidenced by events that led to World Wars I and II, still has not had a major impact. Should we survive another such conflict, perhaps we will finally know that an international consensus to use fo rce must be arrived at quickly, when it is obvious that negotiations cannot succeed. Doris F. Sutter, San Rafael, Calif. Equal treatment for Iraq and Israel

Again, our government has used military means to impose United Nations resolutions in Iraq, but it does nearly nothing to impose international will relating to other parts of the world. Iraq has paid a tremendous price for its occupation of Kuwait and for human rights abuses within its own borders. UN resolutions have been enforced through diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, and military means.

Only 200 miles to the west of Iraq, in Israel, however, quite the opposite holds true. Israel has occupied and illegally settled in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip for more than a quarter of a century. Israel regularly imposes curfews, collective punishment, shoots armed protesters, imprisons people without charge, and expels others because of their beliefs.

Remarkably, none of many UN resolutions passed in criticism of Israeli practices in the occupied territories have been enforced. Israel continues its occupation and numerous abuses and denials of Palestinian human and national rights without the least bit of censure by the international community. Not only are these practices unethical, but they promote mistrust between Israel and its Western backers and the Islamic and Arab world.

If Iraq deserves to be disarmed and economically strangled, Israelis should receive the same degree of international condemnation and punishment. In the long run, fairly implemented policies will protect American interests by showing that the US universally supports the principles of democracy and respect for human rights. Nabil Khoury, Birmingham, Mich.

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