Let me get this straight:

The U.S.-British coalition's first two actions in the democratization of Iraq are committing to drive the Kurds out of Kirkuk at Turkey's behest and putting a former Baath Party general in charge of Basra [news stories, April 11].

Meanwhile, the postwar "peace" is immediately shattered by a suicide bombing that wounds four Marines.

I anticipate a long year.

MARK LANCE

Washington

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Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Chuck Hagel ["Winning the Peace," op-ed, April 6] argued that the revenue from Iraq's oil exports will not cover Iraq's existing debt, so coalition countries will have to make up the difference unless the United Nations and "key Atlantic allies" are centrally involved in postwar Iraq. They said that involving those who opposed us at the United Nations is the only way to convince them that the United States did not undertake its mission for commercial or imperialist reasons.

Using Iraqi oil revenue to pay the debts incurred by a murderous regime would be unconscionable. Governments and corporations knew they were entering into contracts with an illegitimate autocracy that committed atrocities. Such contracts should be viewed as void.

Further, repairing the "hard feelings" of our Security Council and German opponents by allowing the likes of Russia's Lukoil, France's Total Fina Elf or Germany's Deutsche Telekom to profit from Iraqi reconstruction would similarly send a terrible message. By now, those countries cannot doubt that combating international terrorism and nuclear-armed rogue regimes is integral to their interests. It would be to their peril to remain uncooperative in fighting these global dangers because they were shut out of reconstruction contracts.

JOEL SALTZMAN

Arlington