The politics of hunting for WMD in Iraq

Regarding your June 10 article, "In fury over casus belli, the peril of probing Bush": It's no surprise the WMD risk was exaggerated. After years of sanctions, weapons inspections and destruction, renewed inspections and destruction, lack of any effective delivery systems, and overwhelming US military superiority, how did any thinking person believe the US was in danger from Iraq?

The hype became especially obvious each time Al Qaeda was associated with Saddam Hussein in top administration speeches. Congress is as guilty as the perpetrators of the hype for pretending to believe these obvious distortions and - instead of bringing thoughtful discussion - sought to win points for being "most patriotic."

Misleading headlines and interchangeable distortions are inserted daily into newspapers, TV channels, and radio, which are becoming more monolithic. With most Americans still clueless, apathetic, and willing to sacrifice their real freedom our founders fought for, I say it is the responsibility of patriotic Americans to challenge exaggerated statements in government now and say we won't get fooled again.
Vicky Pasternak
Coos Bay, Ore.

We now see a flurry of activity to discredit the president as the 2004 elections near. I think it would be in the interest of the Democrats to put on the back-burner any attempt to make this look like a blunder on the president's part simply to gain political advantage. They may, in the beginning of the race, find egg on their face.

Mike Kovach Jacksonville, Fla.

Regarding your June 9 editorial, "Did Iraq need defanging?": How interesting that Bush and Blair are now pleading for patience as they "search" for WMD. Where was their patience as the UN teams were searching for those same chimera?
Deborah Giordano
Castro Valley, Calif.

I have no doubt the president believed what he said about the existence of WMD in Iraq. Perhaps Bush overstated the case, but to me the reason for the war was not that we knew with certainty the weapons were there, but that we didn't know for sure what was there, where it was, what plans Saddam Hussein had for it, and with whom he may or may not have been conspiring. Given the events of 9/11, any president worth his salt would have done the same thing Bush did. Anything less would have been negligent. We now know or are finding out just what kind of weapons are really in Iraq - and they are under our control. That is the bottom line.
Mitchell Anderson
Plattsburg, Mo.

Sports need better management

Regarding your article on the David Beckham phenomenon and the economic side of English football ("European soccer trips over bad economics," June 6): The same set of paradigms applies to virtually all the major professional sports leagues, with the possible exception of the NFL. Ice hockey has priced itself out of its own marketplace, while basketball is not far behind. The difference between soccer and ice hockey is that spending and results on the field are not always positively correlated. The best examples of this are the New York Rangers' astronomical payroll, which generates fan interest in the aged superstars. And the New Jersey Devils, whose midsize payroll and astute risk-taking management has resulted in success on the ice but not at the box office. Or the Minnesota Wild, where success on the ice and fan support, coupled with one of the NHL's lowest payrolls, has given low-budget operations hope. The solution is to hire better managers and give them a fairly free hand.
Michael Schenkel
Pelham Manor, N.Y.

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