Michael Kelly's columns helped me to deal with the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and then with the events in Afghanistan by placing them into a context to which I could relate. I continued to read his column after that, although I disagreed with most of his opinions.

I am happy to live in a country where I can disagree with Michael Kelly. I will miss closing The Post's opinion page in anger when I read his columns.

DAVID SAMPLE

Alexandria

*

I was devastated by the news of Michael Kelly's death. I had read the New Republic for many years, enjoying the works of Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke and others in its golden age. When they moved on, I considered dropping my subscription but stayed with the magazine because Michael Kelly had become its editor.

To say that Martin Peretz fired Mr. Kelly because he was attacking the Clinton administration is to trivialize his work. Mr. Kelly's columns were tough yet principled critiques of the fundraising scandals surrounding the 1996 election. He pointed an equally accusing finger at Republicans and Democrats. He brought that same level of insight, wit and perspective to his Post column.

Michael Kelly will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to his friends, colleagues and family.

MIKE COLLINS

Annapolis

*

Like many supporters of the war, I was a devoted reader of Michael Kelly. He expressed with emotion and occasional eloquence many people's belief that aggressive tyrants who develop frightful weapons should be confronted early and often. More important, he put his money where his pen was: He went to Iraq as an embedded journalist to see what he helped create.

Sadly, he won't get to see the answers to so many questions he helped frame: How and when will the war end? Will the coalition find weapons of mass destruction? Will Saddam Hussein become a fugitive like Osama bin Laden, go down in a bunker like Hitler or be caught and stand in the dock? Will Iraq make the transition to democracy, and how will it affect the Middle East, the world and the war against the terrorists?

Mr. Kelly grew up on Capitol Hill, a few blocks from my home. I feel an extra obligation now to watch, look, listen, take notes and wonder what this fine man, this neighbor, would have thought.

JOSEPH ERBAL-KONRAD

Washington