But what about North Korea?

Regarding the Feb. 11 opinion piece "Reconciling two US tacks": David Bosco's apologist stance for the administration's dual approach to Iraq and North Korea is specious at best. There are at least 16 nations in the world that possess chemical or biological weapons, and at least 10 with nuclear capability, including North Korea. Yet Iraq, the weakest of all these nations, with no nuclear weapons, is chosen as the whipping boy of the world's only superpower.

This is not about national security. Iraq has never threatened to attack the US or, since 1991, any of its neighbors. What few weapons of mass destruction it may still have may be found and destroyed by inspectors, given the time.

This is not about human rights. If so, we would have rescued the people of Rwanda and Cambodia rather than looking away. And we wouldn't be threatening to drop 800 cruise missiles on a city the size of Los Angeles. This is not about democracy. If so, we should start building stronger democratic institutions with our Arab allies, which are all dictatorships. This is about the world's second-largest - and potentially largest - oil reserves being put in the hands of a chosen government more malleable to American interests. And no amount of moral relativism will change that.
Terrence Fagan
Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

Much analyzing and strategizing is going into a possible US invasion of Iraq, but that's the problem: Conflicts like the North Korea crisis are getting shunted aside as Iraq receives the main focus. While the US government is ignoring the world's pleas for negotiation with North Korea, the nuclear menaces are taking advantage of America's neglect and, less than a week ago, they began transporting the uranium rods to their reactor. If the situation is left unattended, one of two scenarios is likely to play out.

The reactor could go critical, creating a new Chernobyl, or the world could have yet another madman with weapons of mass destruction. I remember studying a time when the US Armed Forces were able to fight one war and keep up to two crises at bay. Our country's situation calls for a better foreign policy regarding how resources are distributed among different struggles, or else a quicker victory in Iraq with no focus on North Korea may be followed by detrimental long-term results for the rest of the world.

Joseph Leopard
Marietta, Ga.

In response to your Feb. 10 editorial "Talking down North Korea": Instead of this silly call for "talks" between the US and North Korea, the Monitor needs to wake up and consider the growing likelihood that North Korea intends to build as many nuclear warheads as fast they can whether or not they are talking with the US. Remember that the US talked with North Korea in 1994, even forging an agreement, which they ignored.

The real question is whether the US will risk starting a regional war by destroying Pyongyang's nuclear program in the next few weeks, while it is still concentrated in a few easy-to-strike areas. But make no mistake - once they completely disperse their program's assets, it won't matter a whit whether we talk with them or not. We will forever be dealing with a nuclear North Korea.
Greg DePaul
Santa Monica, Calif.

The international community should concentrate its efforts on one local and one global challenge underlying the "crisis" in North Korea. The local challenge requires creative pursuit of orderly, peaceful reunification of the Korean people. The global challenge requires aggressive pursuit of effective multilateral enforcement of nonproliferation and other arms-control measures.
Ed Martin
New York

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