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Originally published Tuesday, May 10, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Letters to the editor

Memo to Congress: No mushroom cloud, but here's smoking gun Editor, The Times: The Times is one of the few newspapers in the country to...

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Memo to Congress: No mushroom cloud, but here's smoking gun

Editor, The Times:

The Times is one of the few newspapers in the country to publish "Memo disputes Bush Iraq claims" [News, May 6] concerning the explosive British memo that states that eight months before George Bush ordered American troops to invade Iraq, the evidence for going to war was extremely tenuous, if not bogus.

The head of Britain's intelligence service, MI-6, Sir Richard Dearlove, stated that when he had visited Washington, D.C., for talks in 2002, "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." While Bush had decided in July of '02 to invade Iraq, the administration lied to the American people that summer, claiming that no decision had been reached concerning the plans for war.

As British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw makes clear in the memo: "Bush had made up his mind to take military action." This memo is clearly the smoking gun that, theoretically, should pave the way for impeachment hearings against this administration.

— Clifford Hutchins, Rochester

Unimpeachable precedent

The Rycroft memo [summarizing a July 23, 2002, meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair with top security advisers] says, "Military action was seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and (weapons of mass destruction). But the facts were being fixed around the policy. There was little discussion of the aftermath of military action."

As we all know by now, no WMD have ever been found. The Bush administration has portrayed itself as the victims of poor intelligence. But the memo indicates they knew all along there were no weapons, and that they were intentionally distorting and manipulating intelligence. In other words: lying.

Bill Clinton was impeached for a private indiscretion that killed no one. President Bush's lies have been the premise for a war in which 20,000 Iraqis have died, and more than 1,600 Americans. This story should be front-page outrage for all Americans, especially for those who have a stake in an ethical Christian presidency, in which the sanctity of life is paramount.

— Iskra Johnson, Seattle

Tear down his wall

Eighty-eight members of Congress have written to George Bush asking about the London Times report of a secret agreement in the summer of 2002 between the U.S. and Great Britain to attack Iraq. This agreement would [have been made] well before the invasion, before Bush sought congressional authority; and backs up the testimony of former Bush administration members Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke and a former National Security Council official.

The leaked documents reveal that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw acknowledged the case for war was "thin" as "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capacity was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran." It also states that Britain and America had to "create" conditions to justify a war.

Anyone else see any "irony" in the fact that Bush fled to the former Soviet Union at the very time this report was published? ["Bush, Putin keep it friendly," page one, May 9]. Where once there was a totalitarian government that forbade citizens to travel from one part of the country to another without proper identification, there now travels a president who wants to institute such a policy on a free America. Where once the Soviet Union labeled anyone who disagreed with the party in power (the Communists) as a traitor, this president's own party makes similar statements against free-thinking Americans who disagree with the neo-cons in power.

— Larry Owens, Shoreline

Wrestling with conscience

Embrace compromise

It was interesting to read "Parents taking issue with forfeits when boys don't join girls on mat" [page one, May 7], followed by "Female Little Leaguer recalls pioneering role" [News, May 7], about a girl breaking the gender barrier in Little League 33 years ago. Perhaps we haven't made as much progress in 33 years as we could have.

Under the current rules, an individual wrestler may forfeit a match for any reason or no reason at all. Girl wrestlers and their parents are upset that some boy wrestlers routinely forfeit their matches against girls and they believe it's unfair to allow them to forfeit.

However, if someone refuses to wrestle because of sincerely held religious beliefs, it's difficult to argue that they should be forced to. And, as a practical matter, it's impossible to force someone to wrestle if they don't want to.

A simple solution is to change the rules to allow a wrestler to forfeit a match only by withdrawing from the competition and forfeiting all remaining matches. A wrestler who chooses to forfeit the last match of a competition [would] retroactively forfeit their last win.

This rule change would preserve the rights of the wrestler by making sure they do not have to wrestle if they don't want to (for any reason), and would ensure the rights of the wrestler winning by forfeit by assuring the decision to forfeit a match will not be taken lightly.

— Bruce Leban, Redmond

Hopes pinned on ignorance

I find it outrageous that Tacoma Baptist and Cascade Christian are teaching their young men that women are valued only as sex objects. You can't touch a young lady without having sexual intentions. Their intellectual value in education, health care and business is fine as long as you don't touch them.

It is sad that these schools are unable to teach their young men the difference between competition and sex. Although the boys are probably intelligent enough to make that distinction through proper guidance, teaching, reasoning and mentoring, their parents, teachers, coaches and religious leaders are incapable of doing so, or simply choose not to do so.

This is very sad for the boys, who will not be able to start learning the subtleties surrounding where that line is drawn. An opportunity to teach them a distinction that could help their interactions with women for the rest of their lives will be lost.

Finally, this is an absolute insult to God. Instead of assuming the boys are smart enough to learn how to make that distinction, and nourishing the gift of intellect that God has bestowed upon humankind, they waste it. Boys obviously can't figure out how to be a competitor on the mat and gentleman off it, so let's not even bother?

This ignorant perspective wastes the boys' and the girls' talents and intellects. I'm sure that makes God more than a little disappointed.

— David Lemieux, Bothell

Gentleman's gym

Given all the problems boys are having, we need to re-visit decisions that were made allowing girls to wrestle boys in the first place. A boy is in a no-win situation when he wrestles a girl. If he wins, he simply beats a girl. If he loses, he faces humiliation.

Should not boys be given a safer place in which to learn to achieve and legitimately channel their aggression?

— Steve Thomas, Renton

Push 'em back

Waaay back

How about if the Texas [high-school] cheerleaders being legislated to dance less suggestively started wearing burqas? Would that make the Texas lawmakers happier?

I know — while we're at it, we could reduce sex education in schools, like Maryland [did]; or better yet, not let girls go to school at all.

It seems interesting that, as our administration pushes to "democratize" Iraq and therefore make Iraqis more like us, we are becoming more like them.

— Lisa Glavin, Seattle

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