The lesson to learn about the duties of a secretary of state when the issue involves taking our country to war is that the duty to be a team player for the administration is trumped by the secretary's obligation to the country.

If Colin L. Powell had decided to resign before the war in Iraq began, there is a good chance that we would not be where we are now.

LEO MONTAGNA

Northport, N.Y.

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It was sad to hear of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's resignation. Used and thwarted at every turn, Mr. Powell still gave us hope that there was a voice of reason operating in this administration.

KATHY FISCHER

Burke

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It is with a heavy heart that I watch Colin L. Powell leave this administration. When President Bush took office in 2001, I did not count myself among his supporters. However, the addition of Mr. Powell changed my opinion.

Mr. Powell stood firm against the unilateralists in the administration and ensured that forces from Britain, Poland and other nations joined us in military action against Iraq.

And while the war has been a hard slog, the military and moral support that we have gained from our coalition allies has helped steel our resolve to see our task through to its successful end: a free, peaceful and prosperous Iraq.

TOM CANICK

Rockville