A large and growing segment of the U.S. population agrees with the premises in your recent editorial that a) Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator, b) that he has biological and chemical weapons, c) that he may well use them in the future against his neighbors, and d) that he is in violation of U.N. Resolutions including 1441. Yet we strongly oppose the invasion because its consequences are much more damaging than the problems it is seeking to solve.

Here is a limited list:

a) The invasion will set the precise timing for the use of the dreaded biological and chemical weapons as well as their targets: American troops and Israeli and Kuwaiti civilians.

b) The invasion is sapping financial, military and "first response" resources that should be used against the real threat to our security posed by al Qaeda and North Korea.

c) The invasion will activate al Qaeda "sleeper" cells to sow terror upon U.S. civilian population.

d) The invasion will sow terror upon the Iraqi civilian population and disrupt the fragile food distribution system, leading to massive famine.

e) The invasion is distracting the administration from dealing with the real economic, educational, medical and shelter problems confronting our people.

i) The invasion will burden our children and grandchildren with a huge national debt incurred in paying for the massive military and nation-building costs.

g) The invasion will isolate us further from world public opinion, the United Nations, and the NATO Alliance and will cast the U.S. as the world's bully rather than the champion of peace and justice.

The invasion is not inevitable. To be sure, we have invested a great deal in preparing for the invasion, but this effort served a purpose of impressing Saddam Hussein and other evil dictators with our ability to mobilize our military might in faraway lands.

Iraq is not our top problem, and even most of its next-door neighbors are not worried.

It certainly cannot strike while the inspectors are roaming. Let the United Nations and the inspectors do their job, as we focus on our real problems at home and abroad.

PAUL OLSON

Pendleton

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