Strike first or be struck

Regarding "Hot Preemption" (June 3, Editorial): I've just finished reading your commentary relating President Bush's new doctrine of taking the war to the enemy. And I must say, I feel it is about time. If one examines the competitive nature of a people, one realizes that on all fronts, the only good defense is to have a good offense. This is true in sports and it holds true in war. You can't win without offensively scoring a goal.

The Western Allies could not have knocked the Germans out of power without invading North Africa, Italy, and finally Normandy.

We cannot just "react" to hostile nations and organizations. If so, we will always be the victim. Our only alternative is to be proactive in defending our citizens.
Brian Hill
Portland, Ore.

"Hot Preemption," as your editorial refers to the new Bush doctrine, will only lead to the killing of far too many people. I'm saddened by any support of this stance. Our war on terror is actually becoming more of a war against our own country's values and decency. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are being demeaned and we are, in fact, less secure because of this.

Following a doctrine that the president can do no wrong will only weaken our great country.
Tim Zorach
Corralitos, Calif.

Regarding John Hughes's June 5 column "A West Point message that works for all of us": Some of the brightest, most capable young men and women in our country entered West Point four years ago. They have now graduated after receiving an outstanding education. I listened to the commencement address delivered to them by President Bush and hoped that these new officers dismissed his theme of preemption. We must be defenders, not aggressors. We must be an example of justice in this world.

As students of history, especially military history, they surely know the fate of other nations that have embraced such a policy.
Pat Kellogg
Bethel, Vt.

Drawing the line on security vs. privacy

Regarding "Who's that badgeless man?" (June 5, Editorial): I agree. The FBI didn't need "a greater ability to snoop" to prevent Sept. 11 – a power now being granted. I saw a cable network address this issue of privacy that granting FBI greater "snooping" ability will create. It asked viewers if they were willing to surrender privacy for greater security. Privacy is far too broad a term to be used in examining this issue. Allowing a dog to sniff my suitcase is one thing. Reading my mail or tapping my phone is another. This is not about inconveniences and lines at airports. The infringements of this policy change run much deeper.

There are many ways to improve intelligence handling without surrendering privacy. Privacy plays a crucial role in democracy. It's a restraint to protect citizens from government intrusions. Our Founding Fathers considered this a great concern. It should remain so for us as well. The question that the public should be asked is: "Are you willing to risk greater tyranny at home in exchange for the uncertain prospect of reducing the risk of terror from abroad?" Most Americans would say no.
Brian Lynch
Mine Hill, N.J.

Oh, the places we find Dr. Seuss!

Regarding "Town's newest features are Seussian creatures" (June 3): Kudos to Peter Zheutlin for his terrific tribute to Theodore Geisel, whose Dr. Seuss books brought a love of reading to a world of children. And "To Think that I Saw It On..." the front page of the Monitor!
Phyllis Fanger
Needham, Mass.

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