Reading the March 22 Free for All, op-ed and editorial pages, and then getting a call from our U.S. Marine son in Iraq, proves how deserving America is of our love and sacrifice.

On the Free for All page an African American woman argues why she should be president. Another letter writer tells us how a heroic, blue-eyed blonde (Rachel Corrie) lost her life defending Palestinian homes.

In Letters to the Editor, a reader writes chillingly of "a new era, combining war and entertainment," while another pokes fun at our allies, calling them a "coalition of the well-wishers."

The op-ed page, which began with Colbert I. King's moving account of war talk at his local barbershop, ends with a cartoon suggesting that we send Dwight W. Watson, the disgruntled North Carolina tobacco farmer, to tie up Baghdad.

If there were ever a reason to love America, it is this diverse exercise of freedom. Another reason to love this country is my son, Rajai Hakki (1st Marine Division). He just called us from Iraq to tell us he's okay. He was born in the United States, while my wife and I are Arab Muslims by birth and are Americans by choice. Our pride in him and in America's diversity in freedom was never as justified as it was on Saturday morning.

I salute him and all the men and women of our armed forces. I also want to thank Mr. King and all of the Washingtonians who choose to exercise this gift of freedom -- a freedom our children are wise to fight for.




How God-like we are!

According to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, our bombing is a "humane effort." And according to The Post, 53 percent of Americans backed President Bush's invasion even if Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction [news story, March 21].

Doesn't anyone realize how sick this is?




First it was Germany, then France and now Turkey. These close friends and allies, NATO members that America has helped many times, are in conflict with Washington over the Iraq problem.

Turkey superficially has been supportive. Yet it has not allowed U.S. troops to open a second front, not allowed the use of air bases and, despite Ankara's apparent authorization of the use of Turkish air space, has placed so many stipulations on that allowance as to make the privilege nearly useless. By hampering the presence of U.S{gt} troops in northern Iraq, Turkey has created a vacuum that will be filled by Turkish troops, who were reported to be streaming, uninvited by the coalition, into northern Iraq.

Washington's postwar vision of a multiethnic, democratic and prosperous Iraq will be unworkable with Turkish troops controlling the Kurdish population and perhaps claiming rights to Iraq's northern oil fields.

Yet I suppose that, just as with the classic imperialist, Julius Caesar, an imperial power has to expect to be occasionally stabbed by its friends.


New Haven, Conn.