Regarding the Oct. 18 article "Defiance in Iraq: Orders refused": These 18 soldiers whose job was to deliver much-needed supplies of fuel and ammunition to the frontline troops have created a potential military crisis.
You cannot have a military where there is no discipline, period. These soldiers let their brothers down. They had a mission that was imperative to the lives of those soldiers who engage the enemy on a daily basis, who may have required the fuel and ammunition in order to survive. Their fellow supply personnel stepped in and completed their mission.
When you enter the military you take an oath to obey all lawful orders of your superiors. These soldiers broke their oath and have to be punished under the code of military justice. If not, there will surely be more soldiers who will decide when, where, and from whom they will take orders in combat situations.
Those soldiers from their own outfit that did deliver the supplies are to be commended. Their action was in the tradition of "every soldier's job is necessary in order to complete the mission." To refuse to do your duty because there is danger isn't acceptable.
MSgt. Charles F. Floto Sr. (USAF, ret.)
Good for the 343 Quartermaster Company featured in the"Orders refused" article. The Bush administration has shown little regard for our Armed Forces by deploying them irresponsibly to fight a badly planned war in Iraq, while providing inadequate equipment, reinforcements, and compensation for the wounded.
These soldiers are beginning to understand they need to look out for themselves. At this point it is hard to know how to end the war in Iraq, but end it we must before morale and discipline among our troops degenerate to the nadir they reached in the last years of the Vietnam War. Everyone riding around with a yellow-ribbon bumper sticker reading "Support Our Troops" needs to add one below: "Bring Them Home!"
The headline of John Hughes's Oct. 20 Opinion piece asserts, "No WMD, but Saddam's threat clear." The piece tells us that although the Duelfer Report has clearly stated that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction when we launched our invasion of Iraq, if one delved deeper into the massive report one would see that the threat was nevertheless real and not fanciful or nonexistent. The "realness" of the threat turns out to be that Saddam would have liked to concoct some WMD.
The subtext of this Opinion piece is to continue justifying the invasion on grounds that were highly dubious at the time and are now conclusively proven to be unfounded. Thousands of Iraqis and 1,100 Americans have lost their lives in a war that should not have happened. As a country, we need to face up to this simple fact. In a few days, the same people who perpetrated this mess will get a chance at four more years to perpetrate more of the same. Americans deserve better analysis than this if our form of government is to be self-correcting, as a democracy is intended to be.
New Milford, N.J.
John Hughes's Opinion piece contains some important insights, but it neglected to make the most important logical jump, given the analysis it offered. If Iraq's main impetus for wanting WMDs was Iran, and Iran actually had a well-developed WMD program, wouldn't we be further along in confronting the threat as a whole if we had dealt with Iran rather than Iraq, which proved to be impotent at best?
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