To the editor:
A firestorm of controversy has been ignited by President Bush's statement in the Jan. 28 State of the Union address that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Africa for the purpose of reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. The Bush administration has dismissed these 16 words as trivial in the context of an entire speech.
I don't think so. Many utterances of a lot fewer than 16 words have changed the course of history. Patrick Henry's tidy seven words, "Give me liberty or give me death," called the colonies to arms on the eve of the American Revolution. God pretty much got everything started with four seminal words, "Let there be light," (Genesis 1:3). "Here I stand," a trifling three words from Martin Luther, fueled the Protestant Reformation.
Millions of us have embarked on a life-long marriage commitment with a vow of just a couple of words, "I do." And World War II Gen. Anthony McAuliffe in 1944 needed but a single word to answer the German demand for surrender at the Battle of the Bulge: "Nuts!"
That is exactly what I say to White House efforts to minimize the importance of the 16 words that President Bush used to sell an unnecessary, costly and unjust war.