To the Editor:

Re: Al Jiwa’s “Duelfer proves it: Bush justified in Iraq” (10/12): By referencing excerpts from the Duelfer report that evidence Saddam’s intentions to one day develop WMDs, Mr. Jiwa claims that Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was therefore justified. Mr. Jiwa nevertheless fails to hold Bush accountable for refusing to acknowledge his egregious misjudgment that led us to Iraq in the first place: the notion that Saddam harbored stockpiles of WMD. Instead, we learned in the Duelfer report that the only thing he harbored were bad intentions. As such, he enshrouds the cherry-picked facts in obfuscation and peppers his argument with the same tired epithets like “we cannot reason with these forces of evil” and “eliminat[ing] a significant global threat” in a desperate attempt to legitimize our profound sacrifice in Iraq. Bemused as I was by his amaranthine exculpation of Bush’s choices, I tried to understand his rationale in the context of how my medical colleagues and I make decisions that also affect people’s lives.

Saddam may have been a recurring, insidious cancer that threatened the well-being of the world-at-large, but in the hospital we don’t hastily plan operations to remove a patient’s colon when we find a suspicious polyp. Even if we did, if we later learned that the tumor was benign, we wouldn’t mock the patient by suggesting that he or she is better off not having a colon anyway, simply because a cancer might have grown there one day if given the opportunity. That sort of misguided reasoning is not only irresponsible and reprobate, but potentially catastrophic.

I realize that Saddam Hussein and colon polyps are two completely different entities, yet the approach to investigating and sensibly addressing such precarious threats is ostensibly similar in nature. Our president may wish to consider this before making any further decisions that affect the lives of our fellow citizens.

Michael D. Shapiro MED ’05

Oct. 12, 2004