It is disingenuous to say, as your Jan. 28 editorial "Bush's domino theory" does, that setting Iraq up as a democratic model could "improve the chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace." How will invading Iraq solve the problem of Israel militarily occupying Palestinian land? How will driving Saddam Hussein from power force Israel to stop its colonization of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem? How will changing a government hundreds of miles away convince Israel to give up its dreams of stealing yet more land, water, and mineral resources to create an Arab-free "Greater Israel"?
Argue for an invasion of Iraq if you will. Argue for yet another foreign intervention in the Middle East if you must. But don't delude yourself. It won't do a thing to foster Israeli-Palestinian peace.
In order to sign Resolution 1441, every member of the UN Security Council had to know and agree that Iraq's previous compliance with past UN resolutions requiring disarmament had been a farce. Iraq was declared in material breach of previous resolutions by all 15 Council members. The Security Council members also know what real disarmament looks like.
When the South African government gave up nuclear weapons in the 1990s, it made sure its scientists cooperated fully with inspectors. Hans Blix's report shows that Iraq is doing the opposite.
If the Security Council's members do not act resolutely now, the US and Britain will be justified in writing them off. As an Australian, I would fully back my country joining any military "coalition of the willing."
Regarding the Jan. 22 opinion piece, "Venezuela's opposition ignores the Constitution": It is refreshing to read someone who knows and is willing to discuss the deep history of political and economic corruption that preceded Chávez's rise to power.
Most US reports on the current strike are quick to point out that that those opposed to Chávez represent the upper and middle classes. But Venezuela's upper and middle classes comprise only about 20 percent of its population. The political parties preceding Chávez were parties of the elite who ran the nation as their personal country club. Chávez is the first major political leader to listen to the Venezuelan poor and give them hope. They know that a restoration to power of the militant opposition - enraged that their exclusive interests no longer drive the government - will spell an end to any aspirations they may have. That is why many continue to stand by him despite the deep suffering caused by the militants' all-out strike.
Amitai Etzione's Jan. 27 opinion piece "How not to squander the volunteer spirit" hints at some of the reasons why such progressive legislation may fail in the House of Representatives. But, given a fair hearing by the House's Republican leadership, a sufficient number of both Republican and Democratic members would support endeavors for providing sufficient funding and cost- effective structures geared toward touching the hearts and minds of every citizen across this nation.
We have a chance to show the world what participatory democracy can do when good governance provides the proper structure and funding to inspire millions of citizens to contribute to the welfare of their communities.
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