I am writing in response to your article "Can September 11 Still Change Everything?" in Issue 391 (September 11, 2002) of the River Cities' Reader. The anniversary of the September 11 attacks has brought to light that the media, both on the national and local level, are simply stuck in a rut with reporting stories of either what happened on that day or simply how the event changed the nation, the state, the community, and the individual. I found your article very insightful and offering points that I had not previously heard from others, which is a large compliment considering the sheer volume of stories done on the subject. I did, however, find one bit of misinformation inside of the article. The commentary as a whole was very well-thought-out and very well-written with a one-sentence lapse that appeared uncharacteristic and very out-of-place: "Now the president is preparing for an attack on Iraq without giving any explanation why (beyond that Saddam Hussein is a madman who must be stopped)."

Even before President Bush's speech before the United Nations Council a few weeks ago, the media did report (albeit sparingly) about the true motivations for gathering support for the attack, however maligned depending on your opinion. The first point would be to stop Iraq from further development of biological weapons of mass destruction. The second point would be to stop Iraq from developing advanced nuclear weapons. The third point would be our effort on the continuing "War on Terrorism," under the information that Iraq is an outward sponsor of terrorism both at home and abroad. The fourth point would be Iraq's continuing defiance of United Nations resolutions and sanctions put into place after the 1991 conflict.

We can take for granted that all of these points have conflicting opinions and therefore assumed argue-ability over their validity. What these points do indeed have in common is that each of them has been presented by either the U.S. government or the media as reasons for continuing to gain support for the attack on Iraq. Where the problem lies is that a comprehensive list has never been established by any organization, therefore making it easy for someone to miss.

Sean M. Smith
Davenport, Iowa

U.S. Should Avoid War with Iraq

Events in Washington and around the world are horrifying to all loyal Americans. The United Nations Security Council and all but one of our allies oppose Mr. Bush's unprovoked aggression toward a Third World country 7,000 miles away from our border. All say the same thing: There is no evidence that any of the alleged suppositions about Iraq are even half-truths! In fact, evidence to the contrary is everywhere.

Talk about supposed "possibilities" is meaningless. When President Kennedy quarantined missiles in Cuba, he put photographs before the UN and the world. When President Ford responded to the Mayaguez attack, evidence of responsibility by the Khmer Rouge was placed before the world. In 1986 President Reagan ordered attacks on Libya as response to proven terrorist attacks in Europe. Mr. Bush's father, President Bush, responded to the attack on Kuwait by obtaining international support in the UN before submitting a resolution to Congress. In every case when the U.S. intervened internationally, there has been international support and direct undoubted evidence of aggression by attackers.

Mr. Bush wants to take more than $200 billion out of the lagging U.S. economy to begin a war of aggression he can't prove necessary. This at a time when America's need for education, health care, and Social Security protection are critical. His response to our national priorities is more tax cuts and to ignore basic homeland needs with undefined foreign entanglements.

For guidance Mr. Bush and his appointees need look no further than the great Seal of the United States. The American eagle faces the olive branch in its right talon, looking toward peace, and away from the arrows in its left, avoiding war. The U.S. tradition of responding to aggression - not initiating aggression - must be preserved. The most effective demonstration of our national power is in its restraint, not its use.

Give peace a chance.

Karl J. Rhomberg
Davenport, Iowa

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