endless war, mostly faked

Not all of us are blind.

DEFINITIONS OF WAR

To the Editor:

Re "Detention Upheld in Combatant Case" (front page, Jan. 9):

If the definition of "wartime president" has changed from being president at a time of war that has been declared (Harry S. Truman most recently, as I recall) to when Congress has authorized money for military force but has not declared war (Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia and the Persian Gulf war, to name the major conflicts) to the president's simply declaring a war (on poverty, on cancer, on drugs, on crime, on terrorism), then we have had a "wartime president" for as long as I have been alive.

The war on terror is not a real war. It is not declared by Congress. This is a continuing, never-ending excuse to forward an agenda and, at least as described in your article, trample civil liberties in the name of "war" — a conflict that is politically nurtured despite its terrible and very real roots.

BEBE BROWN
Barnstable, Mass., Jan. 9, 2003

I believe however that Bebe Brown is mistaken, in this letter which appeared in the NYTimes today, about Truman declaring war. Truman inherited the Second World War and Korea was a police action where no war was actually declared.

The author of this letter did not say Truman (or his Congress) declared war - indeed, the letter says that only Congress can. The letter writer said that Truman "[was] President at a time of war that has been declared".