Shah of Iran was not like Hussein

In response to Henry Precht's May 5 Opinion piece "Heed the Iran-Iraq parallels": I respectfully disagree with Mr. Precht's comparisons between the late Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein of Iraq - between what happened to Iran then and what is happening in Iraq now.

The late shah was a friend to the West who built a prosperous country that actually had a growing middle class. As the Shiite mullahs were losing power, they instigated a revolution to take over and unleash what has been 25 years of misery through the reign of a fundamentalist theocracy. The Iraqis have had pure terror and a total lack of any human rights under Hussein.

Both the Iranians under the Shiites and the newly liberated Iraqis are looking for freedom and democracy.

I doubt very much that the Iraqis will be duped by the Iranian fundamentalists, as long as they get help and support from the West and are not left without a balanced transition team.
S. Samii
New York

From one police officer to another

Regarding the May 6 article "Rocky start for new Iraqi police force": My heart is saddened for these men. I know that strong sense of duty to the public, as do many of our brothers. I recently retired from the force, having been a policeman who worked line and traffic duty for criminal investigators.

I wish I could put the Iraqi police officers in touch with law-enforcement programs online. I know many officers who would give up their police-training books and college texts to help open Iraq officers' minds and hearts to the true meaning of service to the public with real respect toward life and people.
David Chambers
Danville, N.H.

Collectively remembering atrocities

Regarding John Hughes May 7 Opinion column "Treat Iraq's dark chapter like holocaust - remember:" I wholeheartedly concur with Mr. Hughes's assessment that the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein are comparable to those committed by Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and others against their "own people," and for this reason, remembrance is essential. Sadly, honesty and introspection also dictate that we list America and its dark history of atrocities levied especially against blacks and native Americans. Just as the citizens of Iraq are encouraged not to forget, we must remember.
Dwight Hart
Tucson, Ariz.

British dissatisfaction with Labour Party

Regarding the May 5 article "Blair's Iraq gamble costing him at home and in Europe": The local elections in Britain were to elect local-government councilors and were not an opinion poll about voting at the next general election. So, local factors often determined the vote.

The commentators mentioned in this report failed to note the impact of an important general factor depressing the Labour vote. Many former Labour voters are angry at what they see as Labour's failure to be tough with asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants, and so voted for the fascist British National Party.
George Jones

Hazing: accepted on reality TV?

Regarding the May 9 article "Hazing case highlights girl violence": With the introduction and acceptance of "reality TV," it doesn't surprise me that our children look at hazing the way they do.

It is obvious that our children cannot tell the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. After all, people get paid good money and receive fame and fortune for being strong enough to be covered in rats or snakes, eat cow eyeballs, and more!
Dee York

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