Sensible enough to remove Iraq's 'hornet's nest'

After reading Jules Lobel's Nov. 18 Opinion piece concerning America's social, economic, and political love affair with instant gratification, I got the feeling that the author belongs to the school of thought that the US almost never gets anything right ("America's penchant for instant gratification").

Mr. Lobel skewers the administration's Iraq strategy without acknowledging the simple fact that almost no one else was willing to remove the hornet's nest that Saddam Hussein's regime had become. So now that a few angry hornets are taking their revenge, people like Lobel sit back and pontificate that the entire operation was ill-conceived.

Lobel implies that better results could have been achieved. I agree. If he and France and Germany and Russia and all the others who did not risk one square inch of skin had united behind the effort to remove Hussein, things might have worked out differently. Unfortunately, those who sat on the fence believed Hussein could be talked out of power. How do you talk a hornet's nest into disassembling itself?
Marc Forlenza
Sarasota, Fla.

Dean and the Democrats

Regarding your Nov. 18 article "The Democrats' dilemma": I am troubled when I read about the Democratic party's nervous response to liberal candidates. The reason the Democrats keep losing elections is because they are not liberal enough. Howard Dean is looking more like a Democrat than most of the candidates. The Democrats need candidates that express liberal ideas and views that are in direct conflict with the conservatism that is choking our country.

I am tired of the way liberalism is being treated like a dirty word that Democrats must apologize for - as if conservatism is normal, and liberalism is anti-American. That's turning US history on its head. This country was founded by liberals; our Constitution is a doctrine of liberalism. The politics of the United States are oriented toward the welfare of the people, and that is liberalism. In fact, I think it's conservative views that are abnormal in our American system.
Jeff Kirk
Sanbornton, N.H.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has a point when he says that Howard Dean must establish himself as a credible leader in national security to beat President Bush in 2004. If he is nominated, Dr. Dean can go a long way toward reassuring Democrats through his selection of the right running mate.

In 2000, Mr. Bush, then a governor without foreign-policy experience, selected former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney to burnish the Republican ticket's credentials. Dean would be wise to follow that example. If Dean picks an experienced leader known for his expertise in the post-9/11 national security landscape - someone like former Senate Intelligence chairman Bob Graham of Florida - he will demonstrate the good judgment required of a commander in chief.
Chris Hand
Jacksonville, Fla.

A disappearing frontier

To me, nothing spells out our president's "going against nature" ethic like his attempt to allow off-road vehicles in wilderness areas, as mentioned in your Nov. 7 article "Bush takes quiet aim at 'green' laws."

There won't be any place left where I can get away from the smell and whine of internal combustion. Less than 2.5 percent of the lower 48 states is set aside for wilderness. In fact, the Bush administration took nearly twice as much proposed wilderness area off the table this year (200 million acres) as has been designated since the creation of the Wilderness Act in 1964. And now he wants to change the use of those remaining places.

Besides the common-sense reason that motorized vehicles spook and stress game, wilderness is valuable to me.
Jon Schwedler
Bozeman, Mont.

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