'Axis of evil': a counterproductive spin

Regarding "As evil axis turns, Bush sees no blur of right, wrong" (Feb. 6): The purpose of foreign policy should be to ease world tensions whenever possible, not intensify them. President Bush has gone out of his way to name Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as an "axis of evil." By doing so, he acted counterproductively. What good does it do to negatively label countries? He should be working around the clock to make sure the world is a more peaceful, secure place to live. Mr. Bush should be making diplomatic overtures - not veiled threats.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman

Huntington Beach, Calif.

I am tired of the media myth, "America at War." We are not at war. If there was a war, it was in Afghanistan and we won. Why is the Bush administration shopping for another war to replace the one we just won?

In order to start a war with the "axis of evil" there will have to be some kind of attack against America to justify it. I am concerned the Bush administration may need to create an event in order to keep the public mind off the growing Enron scandal. Bush needs war to maintain political power, and I'm concerned he will find it.

Marc Perkel
San Francisco

With regard to President Bush's comments about there being no gray in issues concerning terrorism, your article states, "Some find such presidential language unsettling." But I would have to say that most find the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon much more disturbing.

Seth G. Abrahams
Bet Shemesh, Israel

By labeling Iran as part of the "axis of evil," President Bush has accomplished something unprecedented in the history of US-Middle East relations. He has disregarded American material and strategic interests in favor of a moral proclamation.

I believe the "democratic movement" in Iran to be fiction - a product of the collective imaginings of Western media and, more significantly, academia. In a nation where, on Jan. 26, school teachers were arrested for protesting their salaries, which are far beneath minimum living standards, one wonders if the term "democratic movement" is applicable by any stretch of the imagination.

Those who believe democracy is feasible within the present Iranian governmental apparatus need look no further than the Islamic republic's Constitution to see that it most certainly does not support democracy. Kudos to Mr. Bush who, in the face of an army of academic apologists, can recognize criminals.

Mahbod Moghadam
New Haven, Conn.

Is it morally acceptable to take preemptive action of violence to disable a neighbor you fear may harm you? If so, is it acceptable to risk your neighbor's children in the process? This is exactly what the Bush administration is proposing in order to justify preemptive strikes against Iraq.

The US system of justice is founded on notions of individual liberty that, when conflicting with the rights of other individuals, justify violence only in self-defense. International law, consisting of agreements among nations, is based largely on the same principle. Don't preemptive strikes, which involve risks of collateral damage, violate the principle of self-defense?

I encourage American citizens to consider the moral implications of preemptive strikes against Iraq and the precise conditions under which they might be justified. Only with a thoughtful and informed citizenry can we ensure that American action abroad is truly consistent with American values.

Allison Eklund
St. Paul, Minn.

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