Your Comment, "Give war a chance" (Flight International, 21-27 January) was candid and on the mark. Seemingly lost in the emotional outbursts against potential conflict in Iraq is the recognition of a few simple facts. Consider:

1) To those who think the central issue is economic self-interest in the region, in the case of France, Germany and Russia, you're right. If it weren't for sizeable Iraqi IOUs for arms and oil resulting from deals cut with Saddam by these countries after the Gulf War, largely in violation of economic sanctions, this conflict might have been over. When the dust settles, those nations which presented speedbumps on the road to lasting peace and stability in the region may wish they hadn't.

2) Regarding the suggestion that the primary US interest is to claim the oil, consider that there's enough in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to make up for the few million annual barrels we get from Iraq for the next 50 years. The US environmental lobby didn't want to punch holes in 0.001% of Arctic acreage necessary to get it, but it's absurd to suggest that spending tens of billions of dollars to deploy 300,000 US troops and equipment to the Middle East is cheaper.

3) To claim that the foot-dragging at the United Nations stems from concern for the health and safety of innocent life is laughable. The regime in Baghdad is responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iranians, Kurds, Kuwaitis and Shiites. To the surviving victims of rape, torture and terror, the endless jawboning by those countries feigning humanitarian concern to oppose decisive action is a sick joke.

Nobody wants to fight, but war is the final option to achieve lasting peace, security and the defeat of international terrorism.

Bill Mnich Bellevue, Washington, USA

Source: Flight International