Jeff Bergner [op-ed, Aug. 11] says that Michael Moore's question, "Would you sacrifice your son for Fallujah?" is not a question but a rhetorical device and that Moore offers no guidance for addressing this dilemma. Moore's role is not to offer guidance but, as he said himself, to "wake up the choir." The choir was asleep while the Bush administration and our elected members of Congress voted to send our children to an unnecessary war.

-- Christiane Geisler

Kensington

*

Jeff Bergner uses his rebuttal of Michael Moore's comment to make a recycled and completely discredited argument about the war in Iraq.

He talks about the "risks and sacrifices entailed by inaction" and tries to connect Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler, all the while making a veiled reference to Sept. 11, as if it was connected to Iraq.

Those arguments are misleading and irresponsible, much as the White House's arguments have been. It is now clear that Hussein was no threat (hardly a comparison with the military might of Nazi Germany) and had nothing to do with Sept. 11.

So why exactly are we in Iraq again?

-- Fahd Patel

Vienna

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Jeff Bergner raises the question of questionable premises and then engages in many of his own: that the new government of Iraq will be a working partner in changing the Middle East, that this helps prevent another major act of terrorism against the United States and that Iraq was an "imminent threat."

My 39 years of dealing with the Arab world, including two years as deputy chief of mission in Baghdad (1986-88), led me to far different conclusions:

* Any government in Baghdad, if it survives, will be occupied full time there and not in broader Middle East issues.

* As retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of Central Command, has pointed out, Iraq was contained and was not an "imminent threat." Our invasion and continued occupation of Iraq have led to a huge decline in support for the United States in the Arab and Muslim world and have increased the pool of potential terrorists.

The "hard choice" Bergner talks about has put us more, not less, at risk. It makes it all the more difficult to justify dying for.

-- Stephen W. Buck

Bethesda