Mothers who favor a war: Think of your kids

Regarding Betsy Hart's Dec. 2 Opinion piece "Playing against type: Why one soccer mom wants Hussein taken out": The more things change the more they stay the same. A majority of Americans, including a majority of women, favored sending US troops to Vietnam in the early days of war. Support for the conflict remained strong until the body count - displayed nightly on TV news programs like the results of a macabre baseball game - grew unacceptable to all but the most hawkish Americans. Thankfully, the nation regained its senses and pulled out of Southeast Asia.

Now, it's hard to find anyone who will admit to having backed the Vietnam war. I wonder if Ms. Hart would be willing to own up to her support for sending US troops into Iraq should the end results of a conflict there prove equally disappointing. I wonder, too, how many of the women she refers to would be as enthusiastic about going to war with Iraq if it meant sending their sons and daughters into battle.

Hart and all who support military intervention in Iraq make a flawed assumption that the application of "overwhelming force" against a horrible despot such as Saddam Hussein will inevitably make the world a safer place. It won't, and it hasn't yet.

By working to resolve the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, by taking a financial and humanitarian interest in the Middle East apart from its value to the West as an oil repository, by owning up to our foreign policy blunders in that part of the world - these are the ways to make the world a safer place for future generations.
Walt Kita
Ivoryton, Conn.

In response to "Playing against type: Why one soccer mom wants Hussein taken out": Ms. Hart suggests that motherhood has made her smarter than the rest of the bunch, that she knows Saddam Hussein is ready to use weapons of mass destruction, and that he intends to use them against the US rather than his regional rivals.

Concern for my family isn't enough to dispel my doubts about military action - only good, hard evidence could do that.

Current information is no better than we had in 1998 when the inspectors left. The Bush administration has waged an all-out campaign (UN speeches, white papers, unclassified CIA studies) to reveal the extent of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. But fear of the unknown is not the best reason to go to war; before Sept. 11, we let three years lapse in inspections without much urgency. This problem predates that fateful day.

A potential war with Iraq is a sideshow - ancillary action needed to solve this problem. But even mama rats shouldn't be fooled into thinking that war with Iraq will maintain innocence in America (although it may make tanking up the SUV for soccer games cheaper).
Sharon Squassoni

I've been to Iraq. Iraqi moms would have liked to drive their kids to soccer, too. But no amount of "Here, Honey, I'll give it a kiss" can stop the starvation and ill-health wreaked upon their children.

We're supposed to understand how Hart feels about the leader of a country that has never attacked the US. I wonder: Can she understand how the Iraqi moms must feel about a country that has been denying their children healthcare for the past 12 years?
G. Simon Harak
New York

I, too, have a family and children. I want them to live in peace without foreign troops in the street where I live in Baghdad.

I don't think anyone would be delighted to see Iraqi troops on the corner of your streets, either.
Waleed Shamil

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