American taxpayers should not be saddled with the entire cost of the war with Iraq. Before we turn over oil wells to the new Iraqi government (or to a United Nations trustee), profits from those wells should be used to reimburse the federal treasury for liberating the Iraqi people. Surely no Iraqi should complain, because it was American blood as well as American money that set them free.


Falls Church


Patriotism means courage, self-discipline and sacrifice. The Senate should have the courage to approve President Bush's request for an additional $74.7 billion to pay for the Iraq war [front page, March 27]. It also should have the self-discipline to add billions more to reflect the true cost of rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure and economy after the war is won.

Mr. Bush's corporate cronies should join in our shared sacrifices. This is no time to pass a tax cut package to benefit millionaires, while America's soldiers -- working-class men and women -- are shedding their blood on the sands. Tax cuts in wartime are bad fiscal policy and downright unpatriotic.


Montgomery Village


The March 26 front-page story about the situation in Basra mentioned a British unit in the 7th Armored Brigade "known as the Black Watch." As this regiment is certain to play a major role in operations, I thought some background might be useful.

The Black Watch is a famous Scottish Highland regiment (the Royal Highland Regiment) and has played a leading role in every significant battle fought by the British army since the mid-18th century. It is nicknamed the Red Hackles after the red plume worn on the Scottish-style glengarry headgear.

The regiment is an elite corps with a combat reputation second to none. The "smash and grab" capture of a Baath Party official by a detachment under heavy fire is typical of its actions.


Glasgow, Scotland


It was heartening to see the Kingdom of Tonga (population 106,440; GDP $226 million) added to the State Department's roster of the "Coalition of the Willing" [Federal Page, March 27]. One might think the United States could use all the willing coalition members it could get.

But one could be wrong. The Heritage Foundation's list includes Taiwan (population 23 million; GDP $280 billion), whose president has not only lent moral support but offered to provide postwar reconstruction aid to the U.S. effort in Iraq, just as it contributed at least tens of millions (its government claims $100 million) to Afghanistan's reconstruction. But Taiwan was absent from the State Department's list.

I understand the administration's diplomatic sensitivity to Beijing's concerns. But China has opposed U.S. involvement in Iraq every step of the way, both rhetorically and diplomatically. Surely, putting Taiwan's name on the coalition list would be the least offensive way of expressing Washington's diplomatic annoyance with Beijing.



The writer is a research fellow for China, Taiwan and Mongolia at the Heritage Foundation.