The Bush administration's idea of modeling a postwar Iraq on the examples of Japan and Germany after World War II [COVER STORY, March 10] is naive. It took years of occupation to rebuild those countries, and Iraq is more akin to Yugoslavia than to Japan. Yugoslavia and Iraq were cobbled together from multiple states of losing empires (Austrian and Ottoman, respectively) after World War I. Even 20 years of U.S. occupation of Iraq, I suspect, would just delay the inevitable wars of secession and ethnic conflict there. I also suspect that future Presidents would not want to spend the money to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for the many years necessary for stabilization. DONALD PELTON Colorado Springs, Colo.
It defies imagination to think that after Saddam Hussein there could be a democratic Iraq that would serve as a model for other Arab countries and revolutionize the Middle East. Unfortunately, a more likely scenario is that the many factions in Iraq--the Kurds, Shi'ites and numerous tribal groups--would all vie for power. In a postwar Iraq, U.S. troops would be caught up in factional strife and subjected to a devastating campaign of terrorism. Are we prepared to deal with that possibility? H. DAVID TEITELBAUM Redwood City, Calif.
Thanks for "Life After Saddam." How about a follow-up on "Life After George Bush"? With both of them gone, we would be able to look forward to a perfect world. HUBIE BENNETT Pointe Claire, Que.
Americans underestimate the threat of a civil war following military action in Iraq. Although Saddam is a brutal dictator who is a problem for the world, he holds together a country that may sink into anarchy and chaos after he is gone. The Kurds, Shi'ites and different Sunni Arab tribes may try to set up their own countries or may fight for control of the government, a scenario that would have an enormously negative impact on the entire Middle East. SAYYED AHMAD MAZZIDI Isfahan, Iran
A postwar occupation of Iraq would be devastating to the U.S. economy and to our armed forces as they tried to control a "liberated" Iraq. Not only would an occupation require large amounts of money, but it would also thin out American armed forces, taking them away from fronts that seem to be developing constantly. Amid rising tensions with North Korea and the constant threat of terrorist attacks, how would the military be able to operate the way it must if thousands of troops were in Iraq? DAN ROSEN Owings Mills, Md.
The enemy of our enemy is our friend. But if Iraq were defeated, the U.S. would become the enemy of warring Iraqi factions. NGUYEN TU CUNG Baldwin Park, Calif.
Ideals such as capitalism and democracy are not accepted everywhere. We have the ignorant belief that because they are effective for us, they would be welcome everywhere else. These ideals were never--and may never be--universal. We are naive to believe that people with completely different cultures would be quick to embrace a change in government. Why haven't we learned? JUSTIN LI Ottawa
France Is Not the Enemy