WHILE I favor going into Iraq, I'm not pleased about the necessity to do so (see BW Online, "A Personal Standard for Peace"). And I am not confident that the President has the capability to handle the issues involved with competence. I do believe we must show the Muslin world that democracy offers a better solution to the serious problems that underlay its grievances than the current embrace of religious fanaticism and despotism. In some ways we have ourselves to blame for the quandary we face. Decades of diplomatic mismanagement and economic policies that permitted and supported autocratic rule in exchange for oil have come home to roost. Terrorism feeds on such problems and thrives in such an environment. We must now take measures to remedy the situation. Not to take action now will lead to much greater sacrifice in the future. -- P.M.
IT'S tough to be a loyal dissenter, but your flag story gave me, at 81 years of age, hope that we can once again freely voice our disagreement with our government's stand. I had the feeling we had all rolled over. Thank you for standing up for your ideals and mine. -- H.B.
YOU compare the President to Eldridge Cleaver -- you must feel you're quite a patriot! I would like to know, did we give Hitler enough time? Was he Europe's problem? Should U.N. resolutions ever be enforced? Should Saddam remain unchecked? -- M.H.
ISN'T it a duty of patriots to register their opinion and try to keep the country from doing something stupid? -- A.M.S.
I WAS disturbed by your dilemma over flags. You have obviously reached quite a high level of business success and I congratulate you for that. I'm sure you didn't reach that position by being overly concerned by the criticism of others. Your friend convinced you that proudly flying the flag (even two flags) in front of your successful business was a pro-war statement? What hogwash!
I back the President and I trust that we will successful in removing Saddam with minimum loss of life and property. I would much rather see him topple without our help, but I'm certainly not going to suddenly have doubts about flying the flag due to any lingering doubts about an attack on Iraq. Based on his reluctance to move decisively and the Administration's continued appeals to the U.N., I don't consider President Bush to be pro-war. However, I don't expect to see any ridiculous peace flags flying over the White House. Please reconsider your decision to temper your patriotism by flying that disrespectful mutation of the flag. If your employees have noticed it, I'm sure that many of them are upset by such a sight. -- R.C.E.
YOUR article spoke to me of the conflict in my own mind. I support my President, I love my country, I believe we are the greatest nation because of our freedoms, yet I do not want to go to war. I want them to leave us alone if we will leave them alone. However, I don't think that will ever happen. Can we ever live and let live? I don't think so. I don't believe we are bullies (although I see more evidence of that every day). I want to believe in the goodness in people's hearts. I cry when I hear the Star Spangled Banner, or see the flag waving. I believe in America. I love listening to Kate Smith's God Bless America (why is Canadian Celine Dion singing it?). Keep writing about the way you feel. You and I are not anti-American because we don't want to go to war. -- P.D
TAKE down that peace flag! You have to fight fire with fire. This threat from Iraq and militant Islam is more insidious than any prior threat to civilization. -- A.S.
YOU'RE right on -- I could work for your company any day! This article really made me feel good about being patriotic, but not going along with the war thing. It really is okay to question our Administration! -- G.O.
I AM part American and part French, and I have been back in Paris after 19 years in the US. Congratulations for writing an article that makes a lot of sense when read on this side of the Atlantic. The image of Americans in the eyes of most Europeans is at an all time low (pollution, greediness, arrogance, selfishness, etc.) and the current Administration is insulting several European governments and their people. It is always nice to see that some people have not followed this hysterical movement, based on unproven and unreliable information, to attack Iraq or slander other nations only because these nations value a different perspective. -- C.B.