To be or not to be Churchillian

In John Hughes's piece ("A Churchillian moment," Opinion, Sept. 11), he suggests that there are legitimate comparisons between George Bush and Winston Churchill, such as the uphill climb each experienced in trying to convince government officials and the populace of the seriousness of the foreign menace, and the need to intervene sooner rather than later.

But the nature of the threats are different in these two situations. I am troubled by the current rationale and justification of war as merely being the "potentiality of threat," which is like saying we must chop a tree down because there is a potential that its may topple all by itself. Such rationale could be used to wage war against many countries, including Russia, because they also have weapons of mass destruction.

I wonder if Churchill might be chiding us to think through all the ramifications of our choices, and to look to the "second front," where a more protracted and prolonged conflict may emerge that lasts for decades.
Dean Reschke
Naperville, Ill.

I very much enjoyed reading John Hughes's Sept. 11 commentary comparing President Bush's stance towards Iraq to that of Winston Churchill toward the Nazis. I am usually a dove in response to decisions of going to war or not. However, with regard to Iraq, I have had the nagging feeling that Mr. Bush would not be pushing for a campaign against Saddam Hussein unless he had a very good reason to do so.

I, too, have been reminded of history, including Churchill's rally of the British to fight the Nazis versus Neville Chamberlain's insistence on appeasement, as well as the US reluctance to get involved with World War II.

Mr. Hughes's commentary reinforced the gut feelings I've had to date. Although he did not say whether he felt Bush is accurate in his assessment of Saddam Hussein's threat, he certainly made the case for consideration of that possibility.
Susan E. Heard
San Francisco

John Hughes's comparison of George Bush and Winston Churchill reminds me of a famous remark directed to Dan Quayle: "I knew Jack Kennedy, I worked with Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was my friend, and you, sir, are no Jack Kennedy." And, sir, Saddam Hussein is no Adolf Hitler.
Hilton Turner
New Wilmington, Pa.

Bush's speech is unconvincing

Regarding your Sept. 13 article "Bush gives UN an ultimatum," President Bush failed to make a compelling case that Iraq poses any immediate military threat to the US or the world. In his speech to the UN Bush described Iraq as a "grave and gathering danger." Whatever happened to "clear and present danger"?

Bush's speech was full of half-truths and failed to present any new evidence. Iraq poses only a hypothetical danger. Nevertheless, Bush and his administration are eager to rush headlong into war.

After castigating Iraq for subverting the laws established by the UN, Bush ends by asserting that the US reserves the right to subvert international law by taking a unilateral stand against Iraq.
Jim Lethcoe
Valdez, Ark.

No need for UN endorsement

Regarding your Sept. 12 article, "Iraq attack could alter world rulers," United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was wrong when he said that the US needs the approval of the UN to give legitimacy to its war on terrorism.

We don't need the UN's stamp of approval to legitimate our war.
David Holcberg
Newport Beach, Calif.

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