For Saddam Hussein, whose image has permeated Iraq, the most fitting end should be not only ignominy but also anonymity [COVER STORY, April 21]. Shouldn't we give Saddam the invisibility he deserves? The world should never again have to see a picture of this megalomaniac or hear a word about him.
MELISSA A. BLAIR
It is no surprise that the most powerful military force in history has defeated Iraq. But what have we won? If this war was about making Iraqis safe, we have a long way to go. If it was about bringing democracy to Iraq, we haven't even begun. If it was about reducing the threat of terrorism, we've inflamed resentment in much of the Arab world. And if it was about bringing the world together to address terrorist threats to U.S. security, we've clearly failed. If the war was about removing Saddam from power and nothing else then yes, recent events signal victory. But it is too soon to claim success on any other ground.
New York City
The troops are heroes. Saddam has fallen. But one lingering question remains: Do you really feel any safer now that he is gone? The Muslim extremists who had everything to do with 9/11 are still on the loose. Osama bin Laden is free as a bird, and all the American p.r. in the world won't be able to stop al-Qaeda from future terrorist activities.
Nevada City, Calif.
In adopting the doctrine of "I thought he might hit me, so I hit him first," the U.S. has sacrificed 60 years of diplomacy and the U.N. Charter. For this, we have become a global pariah. In exchange for thousands of lives and billions of dollars, we will indeed have a Pax Americana and lose the world.
North Hollywood, Calif.
Predictors of doom said Saddam would set oil wells on fire, causing an environmental disaster, and that his Republican Guard would cause our troops horrendous problems. Mostly wrong! They said Saddam would use chemical or biological weapons, killing tens of thousands. Wrong! They said Saddam would launch Scud missiles into Israel. Wrong! They said that even though most Iraqis might not like Saddam, they'd fiercely fight foreign infidel invaders. Well, look at all of those smiling, waving, cheering Iraqis.
If U.S. troops stay in Iraq, even for the shortest of postwar periods, Americans will be perceived by the world as empire builders, and our actions in Iraq may spawn a thousand Osama bin Ladens who will visit devastation upon our land. If we leave Iraq, it will splinter into a thousand mini-kingdoms of quarreling power grabbers who may ignite a larger war. We can't go, and we can't stay.
--Many readers reacted to our cover showing a red X crossing out Saddam, which echoed our 1945 X-ed-out cover image of Hitler, by asking, Why? "As horrifying as Saddam's regime was," commented a New Yorker, "this war was not the heroic struggle that was engaged in to defeat Hitler in World War II." A Tokyo reader agreed, saying, "To equate the fall of Saddam with that of Hitler is an insult to the millions slaughtered by the Nazis." But one Canadian put it in vivid sports terms: "Comparing Hussein with Hitler is like comparing a minor-league hockey player with the all-time great Wayne Gretzky."
Leading or Following?
In recalling the 1945 cover of Hitler with an X across his face, you said, "But like Hitler, Saddam became the target of a U.S.-led war" [TO OUR READERS, April 21]. I have the distinct memory that Britain was in the vanguard of the Second World War for several years before the U.S. entered the struggle. Perhaps this was a classic example of leading from behind?
I did not know whether to laugh or cry at the photo of an Iraqi boy staring in wonder at the larger-than-life painting of a Barbie doll on a looted wardrobe door in Baghdad [IMAGES OF WAR, April 21]. I thought of 20th century artists who painted to shock (Dali) or promote an ironic view of American commercial icons (Warhol). None hit the mark of image and meaning that this photo does.
It's All in the Definition
The only weapons of mass destruction I need to validate the war in Iraq are the two hands of Saddam [COVER STORY, April 21]. Every day we see evidence of atrocities committed by this evil man and his henchmen, from torture chambers to tattered and starving children. The world will be a better place without Saddam, the personification of evil.
MARY ELLEN LUKASIEWICZ
Saddam and his bloody enforcers were weapons of mass destruction. They were just as lethal as the missiles, gases, chemicals and other weapons that Hans Blix and his team of U.N. inspectors searched for. The weapons were a villainous leader and blindly loyal, amoral killers who targeted their own people. The damage and destruction to the Iraqis were massive in terms of lives, well-being, liberties, property and national resources. Saddam destroyed the hopes and aspirations of an entire generation of his people.