Robert J. Samuelson {op-ed, Aug. 20} is quite correct to comment that "we delude ourselves if we think that the Iraqi crises is merely a passing episode." I question his superficial assertion, however, that the core of the problem is that oil is concentrated in a region of volcanic politics. If the United States were not so dependent on imported oil, the global concentration of this resource would be irrelevant and the Iraqi seizure of Kuwait would not have precipitated such a crisis for the United States.

Rather than seeking to blame external circumstances for our current predicament, we should have the courage to conduct a more introspective examination. Over the past 10 years, it has become painfully obvious that the United States lacks a comprehensive energy policy. More specifically, it is the failure to price our energy options on a level playing field that has resulted in our having to send in the troops.

The prices of fossil fuels have never reflected their true social, environmental or security costs. Consequently, alternative fuels such as renewables have been priced out of the market. Expending billions of dollars in military force is no energy plan. Future episodes will only be prevented by an energy policy that makes consumers pay the true costs of energy. Energy efficiency, conservation and renewables can provide us with some needed light at the end of the tunnel.


Let's quit scaring the nurses at the Navy hospital in Bethesda, quit bashing the bar business in Norfolk and bring the boys home.

It will save the taxpayers billions, cheer up Gramm and Rudman both and leave the Arabs to their brotherly love. They keep saying that's the way they want it.

And that, more than war or rumors of war, is where our national interest lies.


The article "If We Fight This War, Can We Win?" {Outlook, Aug. 19} by Bill Lind provides no balance to the main thrust of other Post commentary on the Middle East situation. As usual, Mr. Lind, by half truths and innuendo, attacks everything and everyone except Abraham Lincoln. If you want an accurate opinion as to the capabilities of U.S. forces, ask the Soviets, and ask them why they dusted off glasnost again.

Iraq has the same museum pieces as the Soviets and with less-capable personnel to man them. And who could not even overcome the Iranian Revolutionary Guards when the 15- and 16-year-old youngsters were manning the Iranian trenches?

F. X. TOOMEY Culpeper