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Letters: Mar. 27, 2006

5 minute read

On the Way to Civil War? Our report on the warfare between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in Iraq provoked many readers to conclude that the situation is indeed civil war and should have been expected. Some readers contested the idea that the U.S. invasion sparked the fire, while others offered hope for peace

As long as the eye-for-an-eye mentality dominates Middle East thought and behavior, there is little hope for a peaceable solution to Iraq’s incipient civil war [March 6]. The philosophy of perpetual retaliation is devoid of love and not a part of God’s plan for the human family. It is time to bury the sword and put on the mantle of love that should be worn in churches, synagogues and mosques everywhere.

PAUL L. WHITELEY SR. Louisville, Ky.

Before the usual voices claim that the sectarian violence in Iraq is evidence of the futility of toppling Saddam Hussein, consider that the worst repressor of individual freedom in the Middle East–Iran–is still busy fomenting strife among its neighbors. Iran’s militant regime is sowing chaos in the Middle East as it goes flat out to develop nuclear weapons. It needs a distracted West and a war-torn Iraq to accomplish that goal.

TOM MINCHIN Melbourne, Australia

The choice in Iraq increasingly seems to be between imposing a police state or unleashing a civil war. Given the fractured history of the country and the divided makeup of the population, those two possible outcomes were predictable before the U.S.’s invasion in 2003. Bush’s war has taken a bad but stable situation under Saddam Hussein and made it worse for Iraqis and the world.

ROBERT J. INLOW Charlottesville, Va.

I can’t accept the argument that the escalating sectarian violence in Iraq has nothing to do with 24 years of Sunni oppression of Shi’ites and Kurds under Saddam but is the result of the incompetent U.S. invasion. What about the passion to avenge atrocities committed by the former regime? The U.S. can’t be blamed for that. Still, Iraqis are probably better off with a dictator, somebody to force them to get along. They thrive on dictatorships and blood feuds.

MICHAEL KLENA Baltimore, Md.

If the Shi’ites and the Sunnis refuse to cooperate, let them form separate states. Otherwise, they will continue to battle. Dissolving the former Soviet Empire and breaking up its satellite states like Yugoslavia made sense. So does separating Iraq.

BOB MASON St. Albert, Alta.

Chemical Reaction

More than four years have passed since terrorists attacked the U.S., too long to wait for legislation to protect the country’s essential chemistry industry [March 6]. The American Chemistry Council, representing companies that make approximately 85% of U.S. chemical products, supports federal legislation to give the Department of Homeland Security authority to secure chemical facilities across the U.S. It’s not often that an industry asks to be regulated, but homeland security and the protection of America’s vital assets must be addressed as a national priority.


Of Ports and Politics

The initial decision to allow a Dubai-owned company to operate terminals at major U.S. ports was a good one; many free-market economists will tell you as much [March 6]. But the deal was unacceptable, given the fear and distrust of foreigners that the President and the Republican Party have cultivated in the people of the U.S. since 9/11. Bush needed Americans to adopt those attitudes in order to justify the war in Iraq and ensure his reelection. What he didn’t count on was that those same attitudes would come back to haunt him.


Bring Back the Big Easy

“The Big Blank Canvas” [March 6], about the struggles the people of New Orleans are facing as they attempt to rebuild, made for sad reading. I spent a very enjoyable holiday in the city in December 2004. I was struck by the vibrancy of the place and the friendliness of the people. It appears that the decision to rebuild the city is being questioned. How can the U.S. turn its back on its own people, but spend $30 billion reconstructing Iraq? Let’s hope that the recent Mardi Gras celebration will rally public opinion in favor of rebuilding the once proud city.

TONY KEAST Halifax, England

People Power Betrayed?

TIME’s report on the foiled plot to overthrow the government in the Philippines noted that the coup was to be announced during the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the People Power revolution that toppled Ferdinand Marcos [March 6]. A gift to the world uniquely our own, People Power has been used and abused until its true essence is degraded. To say that Filipino history repeats itself is an understatement. What’s happening nowadays to the country clearly indicates that history strikes back with a vengeance. The inability of some Filipinos to learn from the past holds back the entire country.


Filipinos wrote Asia’s first constitution and proclaimed its first republic. The monuments to the People Power revolution offer a hint of the democratic achievements of the Philippines, but its citizens are capable of accomplishing even more.

LEOMIL O. APORTADERA Iloilo City, the Philippines

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