Reveal intelligence panel results before the election

Regarding your Feb. 5 article "As probes mount, Bush has allies": While the appointment of a commission to investigate weapons of mass destruction intelligence is a step in the right direction by the Bush administration, delaying its findings until after the presidential election is unfair to the American public.

How can we possibly make educated decisions regarding our vote if the administration withholds relevant facts that may cast doubts upon its justifications?

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace conducted its own unbiased investigation and released its findings and recommendations, which obviates the necessity of appointing the commission. I don't recall any mention of that report, or rebuttal, by the administration.

Appointing a commission whose findings are likely to be severely edited (most likely for security reasons) before being released to the public seems to be an exercise in futility. The administration continues to suffer from an acute case of denial, despite the findings of David Kay.

Repeating the same mantra over and over may be soothing to the id, but it can never make it a reality.
Tom Mounce
Alamogordo, N.M.

Ousting Saddam helps mideast peace

In your Feb. 9 editorial "A Missing Inquiry on the War" you wrote that "a key premise trumpeted by the White House was that Saddam Hussein still had weapons." The not trumpeted key reason, in my opinion, was to gain leverage to bring a major change for peace in the Middle East.

Both Israel and the Saudis wanted Saddam out. Now we must deal with them to move on. The Saudis earlier agreed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestine question, and now Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is beginning to remove, as James Baker said eight to 10 years ago, some "obstacles to peace." There's significant movement. A great deal more is needed in the same direction.
J.W. Mengel
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Direct elections for Iraqis

Regarding your Feb. 10 article "Why direct elections in Iraq could backfire": It's clear that the main reason that this US administration does not want June elections in Iraq is because they would not like the outcome. The Shiites are the majority and they would probably win control of the country in an open election.

Logistics is no excuse not to have an election. Iraqis are already used to voting; Saddam had elections in spite of their superficial nature.

We have supported many despots when it has suited our own interest only to see such support backfire. Let democracy go forward in Iraq.
Othar Woodard
Tarboro, N.C.

Mending marriage

Regarding your Feb. 10 article "Hub of a culture clash": I am more than amused by the uproar over gay marriage. This all seems like a distraction from the fact that the problems in marriage are mostly due to the married people than outside forces.

The fact that half of heterosexual marriages fail means that half the people getting married were not ready to take responsibility for keeping a marriage going.

Once upon a time a man and women would court for two to five years before they got married. What they looked for in each other was not just love, but practical things, such as whether that other person had the skills needed for a successful marriage.

Married people would do well to spend their time learning how to be married and spend less time looking for scapegoats for their marriage problems.
Christopher Blackwell
Deming, N.M.

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