'President Bush's war, not America's war'
Comments from readers of USAToday regarding Iraq war...
Most Americans now realize we were duped into supporting an unjust invasion of Iraq. It took a long time to realize there were no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear weapons, no mushroom cloud threats, no uranium from Niger, no link to al-Qaeda. Today, most Americans have figured it out.
Some will tell us mistakes were made, but most of us recognize a lie when we see one. We are in Iraq based on lies, and our military men and women are dying.
This is President Bush's war, not America's war.
There is no dishonor for the United States in stopping Bush's war. There is, however, enormous dishonor for America if we don't stop killing, given that we now can conclude the Iraq war is based on lie after lie after lie.
Joseph T. Suste, Medford, Ore.
Bush 'consistently wrong'
USA TODAY reader Jane Kenny, who links the fact that this country hasn't been "attacked since 9/11" to our occupancy in Iraq, apparently has swallowed hook, line and sinker the Bush administration's misleading justification for the Iraq invasion ("President's critics miss war's big picture," Letters, Tuesday).
As many of us now accept, Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, and, yes, Iraq is now a magnet for terrorists and a frightening showpiece of terrorism in action.
I do agree with the letter writer on one thing: We have to give President Bush credit for being consistent. Amen. He appears to be consistently wrong.
Dorian de Wind, Austin
No turning back
Jane Kenny's letter to the editor assumes we were constantly under attack on our homeland before Sept. 11, 2001. We weren't.
Until 9/11, we were practically invincible on our homeland.
President Bush is consistent in his beliefs, but he has no choice. To change direction now would be political suicide.
Carlos Griffin, Ridgeland, Miss.
'Persevere to the end'
Thanks, USA TODAY, for the editorial view on American troops in Iraq. While I believe the United States has mishandled a number of things in Iraq, the fact remains that we are there: We caused the problem and have to persevere to the end ("Congress finally debates war but finds no easy solution," Our view, Invading Iraq debate, Nov. 21).
Having had the privilege of flying U.S. troops to and from the Middle East for the past two years, in talking with them I've found, almost to a man, they feel they have a mission and want to complete it.
I believe that prematurely pulling troops from Iraq would only lead to the failure of democracy in that region, and further diminish the perception of the United States there. Additionally, failing to guide Iraq through this difficult period would dishonor those who have been injured or killed in fighting this war.
While Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., indicates that public support is waning, I'd disagree with his conclusion this is a reason to pull out ("Staying is not the answer," Opposing view). The United States has a moral responsibility to bring to completion what it has started, whether popular or not.
Scott Grillo, Lancaster, Pa.
U.S. can't fight all battles
So, USA TODAY thinks that terrorists' opinions are a good reason to continue sending our young men and women to die in Iraq?
The recent editorial notes that Osama bin Laden said that the United States "rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace" and that his forces were emboldened as a result. Our "occupation" of Iraq already emboldens terrorists; I don't think ending our occupation would further embolden them. Besides, as I would tell my 5-year-old, you should not "live your life based on what bad people say about you."
Bad people are going to find ways to be bad people and find places to do bad things. But this is the heart of why USA TODAY argues that thousands more ought to be sent to be killed or wounded?
This nation fought its only civil war because it had to. Let other nations fight their own civil wars. Saddam Hussein is gone. We allowed bin Laden to escape. Terrorists will be terrorists. It's an ugly world, and we can't fight all its battles - not at this cost, not when the rationales aren't why most Americans agreed to invade Iraq. When we are attacked, or an attack is imminent, we should annihilate the true perpetrators. Nothing less. But it's not our job to nation-build or police any nation in the world.
Whether it takes six weeks or six months, we need to disengage to the level that Rep. John Murtha outlines. We need to stop building streetlights and remove en masse our police forces from an entire region where the "stability" bar will never be what we'd prefer.
David Gaines, Cherry Hill, N.J.
Stay course in trying times
I have nothing but respect for the comments of Rep. John Murtha, a former Marine, regarding withdrawal from Iraq. And I agree that the entry into Iraq was a very bad mistake. Nonetheless, to withdraw without training the Iraqi troops to defend themselves from the terrorists would be another mistake.
I can feel Murtha's frustration, especially after having to live through the disaster of the Vietnam War. But the ghosts of Vietnam shouldn't bring us to make more mistakes, nor should the mistaken judgments of our leadership drive us to make more errors in judgment.
I cannot forget that during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II - when we were losing the war, after many months of being the victors - how depressing it was to those of us serving overseas in our third year of the war. During the month of the Bulge, 19,000 of our brave servicemembers gave their lives.
Please, let us not rush to make more bad judgments, in these "times that try men's souls." Remember the courage of the soldiers who have risked their lives and the many who have given all.
Orville B. Iverson, Woodside, Calif.
Patriotic to withdraw, too
Soldiers have a duty to follow orders and fight their enemies. But U.S. citizens also have a duty: not to blindly or unquestioningly support a war our leaders tell them to fight - one that, it is becoming increasingly evident, cannot be won.
U.S. soldiers are being killed and maimed in Iraq (and even Afghanistan) every day. While it is true that casualties are not nearly as high as during the Vietnam War or World War II, it is apparent that such casualties are unnecessary. The spreading of democracy is a noble goal worth fighting for, but not necessarily worth dying for.
Our troops have done all that could possibly be expected of them. But now that freedom-loving Iraqis have been released from the chains of brutal dictatorship, it is time for our troops to come home. Our soldiers' feet have been held to the fire, and our troops have performed honorably and well.
How dare any of our country's leaders accuse those protesting the war of being unpatriotic. How dare they say we are dishonoring those soldiers who are still fighting and spilling their blood. True patriotism is knowing when to admit defeat.
We can best honor those who have died by saying to those who are still fighting: "You have performed nobly! Now it is time for you to come home! There is honor to be found even in defeat." True patriotism is a badge that deserves to be worn proudly by us all.
Lawrence Auerbach, Las Vegas
Proud to call Bush president
The commitment of George W. Bush to what is seen as an increasingly unpopular war can be summed up in one word: leadership.
Criticism of war is not unprecedented. Lincoln was bitterly criticized by the minority party, which wanted to surrender in the face of a hard fight and mounting casualties. There were riots in the streets. Lincoln stayed the course and gave his life to free the slaves.
As with Lincoln, history, not the current minority party, will judge President Bush.
If we are able to achieve a measure of success that brings democracy to this troubled region, paid for with the blood of our sons and daughters, history will be kind. I'm proud to call Bush my president.
Peter J. Wickman, Inverness, Ill.
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