Regarding the March 20 opinion pieces under the headline "How antiwar thinkers see light in a dark moment": It was hard for antiviolence activists not to feel discouraged this week. On March 16, Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to prevent it from demolishing a Palestinian home. Three days later, the US began dropping bombs on Iraq. Advocates of nonviolence may have "lost" in the short term, but we have made a difference, and our voices have been heard. This is a long-term struggle, as Desmond Tutu and Ian Urbina point out. Our protests should be the beginning, not the end, of our commitment to justice and peace around the world.
The US - this beautiful, diverse country - is the leading economic and military power of the world. With power comes responsibility, and I believe President Bush, his advisers, and his supporters see the path they have chosen as both just and necessary.
But what would happen if the world were to follow our lead? If countries were to announce their demands to the world and the UN, telling them there is no middle ground - they are either with us or against us? What would this US-led world look like if all military forces were to rise up and act preemptively? How free would the world's citizens be if the rallying point behind these "wars of prevention" was fear of the infinitely possible?
Sept. 11 has assured us there is evil out there that must be guarded against. Now that war is upon us, we owe it to the men and women serving our country to see the job through and bring them home quickly and safely.
But we should all stop to imagine a world that follows our new doctrine. We should ask ourselves what it might take to lead the world into a future worthy of our own potential as a great and idealistic nation. If we are, in fact, the lone superpower, then it is time - past time - to earn this mantle of leadership with actions we would be proud to see followed, or we risk losing the mantle itself.
Staci Leigh O'Brien
As a member of the Screen Actors Guild for more than 30 years, I take issue with the tone of the Arts & Leisure March 21 "Short takes" column "'Wing' and a protest." The Screen Actors Guild has a duty to object to anyone who tries to destroy an actor's career. This is a serious matter with very real precedence in our political history. I served in the armed forces during the Vietnam conflict, and experienced being involved in a war whose moral basis was ambiguous. My heart is with the young men and women now serving in our armed forces who are being asked to wage a war for reasons that many in the world find dubious. "West Wing" actor Martin Sheen doesn't stand alone in his objection to the war - carping on his salary misses the point.
Woodland Hills, Calif.
Having proudly worked for and walked with the 1986 Great Peace March For Global Nuclear Disarmament, I find it both baffling and infuriating that so many women have been adamantly opposing our liberation of Iraq, including the National Organization for Women and such ardent Hollywood feminists as Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand, and Jessica Lange. Read one of the many acclaimed bestselling books, such as Con Coughlin's "Saddam: King of Terror" that delve into various aspects of Iraq's tyrannical subjugation of its population - women in particular.
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