To the Editor:
Pundits like William Safire and White House insiders like Vice President Cheney are setting the stage for a preemptive strike on Iraq, against the advice of key military leaders and the State Department. Without strong support from our allies, without a clear end game and with tensions running high around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, events in the region could easily spin out of control.
Why isn't President George W. Bush listening to the people in his administration who have real military experience and depth in international affairs like his joint chiefs of staff and Secretary of State Colin Powell?
In Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance provided the nuts and bolts of the offensive, but in Iraq no equivalent indigenous force exists, meaning Americans would suffer much heavier casualties. What's more, the loss of life might be in vain, since there is no viable successor for Saddam waiting in the wings. In short, the joint chiefs of staff think a war against Iraq is an all-around bad idea. Bush should listen to his generals, and do his homework, when deciding how to deal with Saddam Hussein in the coming months.
Furthermore, the United Nations inspectors’ probably can do the job that needs to be done: Inspect any war weapons manufacturing sites, real or suspected. If Saddam is the target, then go one-to-one with him using special forces, the UN or President Bush himself. The notion that United States military forces should mount an aggressive assault on Iraq is totally irresponsible and reprehensible.