We Need Continuity Of Leadership

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Editor:

A substantial possibility is that terrorists will, by use of spies, bribery, purchase or research, acquire weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons could be used against major American cities. A way to minimize this possibility is to press current campaigns against terrorists so effectively that they never have the opportunity to use such weapons.

Such risks mean we must have the most effective leadership available.

America faced novel challenges of major proportions in 1864 and 1940. We re-elected Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt in 1864 and 1940, thereby taking advantage of their experience in the developing crisis. In 1864, people were tired of the three-year-old war. The solution was to find a general who could consistently defeat the talented General Lee. In this trial and error process, President Lincoln appointed General Grant as Commander-in-Chief. The war was successfully concluded 13 months later.

President Roosevelt, in 1940, campaigned on a platform of keeping out of war if we could, but being prepared for war. Because of his foresight, the war was over sooner than it would have been if we had not prepared in advance. We are in a similarly ambiguous situation now. Consequently, we need continuity of leadership like we had in 1864 and 1940.

The wait and see policy practiced by England and France from 1935 to 1940 turned out to be a disaster. Hitler violated provisions of the Versailles Treaty from 1934 until World War II. If England and France had intervened effectively when Hitler militarized the Rhineland, an unprepared Germany could have easily been defeated in the event of war. Instead, we had World War II and 45 million casualties.

The Bush administration is aggressively pursuing the terrorists. The trade involved in this policy is that thousands of casualties now may save us from millions of casualties if our choice is to wait until we know beyond a reasonable doubt that terrorists have weapons of mass destruction and long-range delivery systems.

President Bush and his team have three years' experience in fighting the current terrorists. This current experience is much more valuable in effectively protecting America than Sen. Kerry's three-month experience commanding a small unit in Vietnam more than 30 years ago. President Bush has the commitment, and the experience, to best serve the American people in meeting the challenge of terrorism.

Jim Winter, Payson

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