Letters to the Editor for the weekly print issue of April 30, 2012: The 'appetite for war' is fueled by the arms lobby's appetite for profit; there's a key legal difference between a 'preemptive' and a 'preventive' attack on Iran; and Catholics don't force others to follow their beliefs, they simply demand First Amendment protections.
In "Call of duty: the rising toll" (April 2), US Naval Capt. Ronald Smith states that the only way to prevent wartime tragedies is to reduce our "appetite for war." The appetite for war will diminish when the appetite for huge expenditure on combat equipment is eradicated.
Political leaders in Europe and the United States must not be swayed by the lobbying of arms industry executives, who perceive a reduction in military spending as a threat to their profit margins. Cuts in defense budgets will allow revenue to be channeled into more constructive areas and contribute to a more balanced distribution of resources.
Preemptive vs. preventive attacks
L. Michael Hager's April 9 commentary ("A preemptive attack on Iran would violate law") confuses two terms: "preemptive" and "preventive" strikes on foreign countries. Misusing them blurs a key distinction in international law: Preemptive attacks are legal under international law, not preventive attacks.