In Leo White's commentary on the effectiveness of the U.S. embargo on Iraq, “Our Wrath is Righteous — But is it Right?” (March 18-24), he illustrates his point by employing an outrageous and illogical analogy.

He implies that we are holding innocent children hostage and torturing them unless their parents do what we want. His stretching of the facts only serves to discredit his entire argument. It may indeed be time to consider all alternative strategies, but using this comparison certainly is not a valid argument. We only have to look at history, and not a concocted analogy, to measure the effects of economic sanctions and boycotts. There have been both successes and failures. The downfall of the Iron Curtain, USSR and communist influence is the most recent example of what economic pressure can achieve.

It was not an embargo, but it did force the communist rulers to spend money for military and not on the welfare of the people, which resulted in the people revolting to achieve their freedom. We also have no guarantee that any assistance will actually go to the people — as we have learned from the tragedies in Africa, where relief convoys of food are routinely captured by rogue bands and never reach the intended destination.

Many countries have already become welfare nations, depending on foreign assistance for necessities while dictators rule, build up their military, support terrorists with the same ideologies and plunder their own countries' wealth.

There is no simple solution to these complex issues, but one must be able to present workable solutions, backed by historical examples, and not employ a current reprehensible method of just stirring up emotions, by any means, to gain supporters, which is what professor White has attempted to do.

TOM SAWYER

Strongsville, Ohio