Harold Meyerson proclaimed in his March 27 op-ed column, "Smart Bombs, Dumb War," that by going to war with Iraq the Bush administration has treated "the U.N. Charter with the same respect that the German Foreign Ministry accorded its pledge of nonaggression to Belgium in 1914." He further said that the Germans at that time were "bewildered" at British objections to their entering Belgium over what the Germans called a "scrap of paper."
But Mr. Meyerson has it a little mixed up. In this case, it's Iraq that has contempt for the United Nations and its most recent famous scrap of paper: U.N. Resolution 1441. And it is the United States -- and, once again, Britain -- that are defending it with the lives of their citizens.
DAVID C. GANNON
So the Army's senior ground commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, has found that "the enemy we're fighting is different from the one we've war-gamed against" and that the Iraqis are using all means at their disposal to resist this invasion of their homeland [front page, March 28].
Apparently, without any sense of irony, the general professes to be "appalled by the inhumanity of it all."
Who taught this guy military tactics? Gen. Charles Cornwallis?
Next thing you know we'll be complaining that the Iraqis won't come out from behind the rocks and trees and march in a straight line toward our tanks wearing red uniforms.
SHELDON H. LASKIN
Michael Kinsley ["Our Kind of Law," op-ed, March 28] says the United States ignores international law, invades at the drop of a hat and then gets offended over the execution of its servicemen.
Perhaps Mr. Kinsley should take a look at the unwillingness of many nations to police themselves in the realm of international law, as typified by the ever-impotent United Nations, whose list of involvements reads like a litany of lives lost to indecisiveness and failure.
The United States has been placed in the unpleasant and thankless role of policeman and emergency responder to the world. It is bitter for those of us in the service of our country to watch the world dine on the omelet of security while sniveling over the eggs that were broken in the process.
In trying to explain the explosion of anti-American sentiment around the world, Robert J. Samuelson ["The Gulf of World Opinion," op-ed, March 27] made some good points: delusion in some quarters about the U.S. greed for oil, selective and self-serving moralism, etc. But he ignored one of the biggest reasons for the boiling resentment: the Bush administration's lack of credibility.
The administration has repeatedly shifted its rationales for launching military action -- from disarmament to regime change, from national security to liberation. More damaging, it has repeatedly relied on allegations that are highly questionable:
* The linkage of Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda, despite deep-rooted and fundamental religious differences and antipathy between the two.
* Claims of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program, which have been disputed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
* The assertion that certain tubes found in Iraq were intended for uranium enrichment purposes (again, this is strongly disputed).
* A reliance on forged and plagiarized "intelligence" documents.
The Bush administration's justifications for an invasion have played a large role in contributing to the rise of anti-American sentiment. It is not just a case of "poor" public relations.