After watching the State of the Union address on Tuesday with a number of my Democratic friends (I am a Republican), we all seemed to agree that it was a very well-written and eloquent speech. And although there is disagreement among us regarding his economic policies, many of my friends were pleasantly surprised with Mr. Bush's proposals.

I was hoping that The Post's Jan. 29 editorial on the speech would contain positive reaction to more of his proposals. For instance, Mr. Bush's plan to help battle AIDS in Africa is more than any administration has ever done -- yet the editorial commented that the commitment was "still slight compared with the challenge." Also, proposing $1.2 billion for hydrogen energy research is a huge step toward clean, renewable energy.

Finally, the president issued his strongest statement yet on Iraq. By specifying exactly how many chemical or biological agents are missing and how much the United Nations has found, President Bush has highlighted to the country and to the world the huge problem in Iraq.

Let's give our president credit when credit is due.

SETH D. SCHRAIER

College Park

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President Bush's cavalier dismissal of the issue of imminence when assessing the threat posed by Iraq was disingenuous.

No one advocating further pursuit of peaceful solutions dismisses the possibility that this threat may someday become imminent and, when it does, require swift action to negate it. But the administration's broad, generalized definition of "imminent" guarantees that the United States will be even more feared and loathed by any and all who dare to disagree with it in light of the looming war against Iraq.

President Bush and the hawks who advise him must make their interpretation of imminence more clear to our citizenry and our allies.

ROBERT E. VENKUS

Ellicott City