An April 10 news story quoted Vice President Cheney as saying, in a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors , that "in the early days of the war, the plan was criticized by some retired military officers embedded in TV studios." His comment received quite a bit of laughter from the audience.

The vice president, I understand, was granted a number of deferments during the Vietnam War while many of these "embedded" officers not only served their country in uniform but also shed blood for it.

JOSEPH T. PASLAWSKI

Alexandria

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If the Iraqi people are to be free, then why is our government taking over their airwaves? It sounds as though even the Arab-language news (for Iraqi consumption) will have to be approved by the coalition. And are we really going to broadcast the evening news (subtitled) from all three major U.S. networks ["U.S. Uses Iraqi TV to Send Its Message," front page, April 11]?

While this may be "free press in the American tradition," as Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of the Westwood One radio network and a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, was quoted as saying in the article, shouldn't we be facilitating the Iraqis' own public access channel so that they can start to experience their own voice?

Perhaps it would be instructive for Iraqis to see how we portray the war on "World News Tonight," but why not follow it up with panels of citizens offering their reactions to what they have seen? I would like to see that kind of programming broadcast back to the United States.

JENNIFER TOMLINSON

Washington

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Temporarily taking over civic duties in Iraq is standard operating procedure for the U.S. Marine Corps ["Marines Get Hands-On Civics Lesson," news story, April 14].

The Marines kept order and brought basic relief to San Francisco for a month after the 1906 earthquake, and they guarded the U.S. Postal Service twice during the 1920s when mail trucks and train cars seemed to be fair game to criminals.

Marines were mayors, police officers, city engineers and ombusdmen in Haiti (1915-1934) and the Dominican Republic (1916-1924). Regardless of what one thinks of the motivations behind their presence (and the fact that there have been occasional abuses), when the Marines were in charge, peace reigned, roads were built, cities were cleaned, communications were state of the art, hospitals and schools were built, and the population felt free to carry on a normal life.

The Marines can be expected to carry out civil administration assignments with the same efficiency they apply to military assignments. Considering the conditions in Iraq, it's a good, temporary solution.

ANNE CIPRIANO VENZON

Bethesda

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Why such confidence in the United Nations to pacify and bring freedom to Iraq ["A Partnership for Iraq," editorial, April 8]? The U.N. Security Council can't even agree to criticize North Korea for being the first nation ever to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ["U.N. Council Stalled on N. Korea," news story, April 10].

MICHAEL PARANZINO

Bethesda