The June 7 editorial cartoon by Robert Ariail was so off the mark that it requires a response. To equate those who opposed the preemptive war in Iraq in any way with the isolationists of the early 1940s is preposterous. I came from a family of moderate Republicans but I enlisted and served in World War II. I was incensed to see a cartoon suggesting insult to those of us who strove to prevent the invasion of Iraq, most of whom are appalled at the present state of affairs.
I noticed Tuesday's Monitor carried an article by Dante Chinni emphasizing the disparity between the two armed struggles. Unfortunately, his article did not undo the slur in Monday's cartoon against those who disagree with our present policies regarding the use of armed force.
John L. Meyer II
Spruce Head, Maine
Regarding Dante Chinni's June 8 column "Antidote to 'Iraq is Vietnam' ": As many others are probably telling you, World War II did not begin at Pearl Harbor for most of the world. The point is not trivial - whatever the war on terror really is, it didn't begin for most of the world on Sept. 11, 2001. As with medicine, ignorance of the origins of a problem impedes both diagnosis and treatment.
Vancouver, British Columbia
The "war on terror" is a lame and unfortunate phrase. Terror is a tactic, not an army. The use of military might is a blunt, crude, and ineffective instrument against an enemy that lurks in the shadows and feeds off our simple-mindedness.
Mr. Chinni is correct when he says the effort to defeat religious extremists will take effort, patience, and understanding. We must take the time to understand why and what our enemy is fighting for. Otherwise, Bush's war on terror, like the war on drugs, will be wasteful, destructive, expensive, and endless.
North Attleboro, Mass.
Dante Chinni outlines the goals of the war on terror very well, but he completely misses the fact that US policy in the war has been a successful process to accomplish those goals. We have rid Afghanistan of Taliban rule, and Iraq of the Saddam Hussein regime. Serious attempts at representative government are in process in both places.
The seeds that have been planted in Afghanistan and Iraq have the potential to grow in the entire Middle East.
Los Olivos, Calif.
Regarding your June 3 editorial "Nation-Building in Saudi Arabia": Unfortunately, the Saudis haven't been active in publicly promoting their exerted efforts to create and sustain an exceptional form of democracy that would be suitable for a clannish society that is still remarkably attached to its tribal connections.
Local elections are approaching and more authority is being granted to the Saudi parliament to practice gradual steps toward democracy before officially implementing it. Shiites, Hijazis, women, and other groups are occasionally engaging in Saudi national dialogue to delineate their future contribution toward the government's domestic and foreign policy.
While we don't deny our mistakes, we can't afford to risk the modern state we have built in less than 50 years by embracing a fragile democratic system where elections are cooked and polls are counterfeited. When we look around at our neighbors, most Saudis realize the devastating cost we would face if we were to overaccelerate the Saudi political transformation.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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