Letters to the Editor

Readers write about consequences of the Iraq war, Islam in Turkey, and US troops leaving Iraq.

The disastrous consequences of the Iraq war

The July 25 article, "Iran's growing presence in Iraq," once again highlights the Bush administration's inability to fully comprehend the ramifications of its disastrous invasion of Iraq. One cannot help feeling frustrated at what such news, piled high as it is on the many mistakes this current administration, has come to illustrate.

As a nation we expect a certain level of competency in our national leadership. There has always been an assumption that – whether the dominant party was Democrat or Republican – the interests of the country would ultimately trump partisan ideology.

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Not so with the current administration. Damage, some perhaps irreparable, has already been done to our overall economic health, to our stature as a nation, to our ability to rein in those who perpetuate terrorist acts, and to the effectiveness of our armed forces.

A majority of the public now condemns President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, and all of their supporters who followed without question for what has happened under their watch. In hindsight, it is clear that the two-party system failed when it allowed those government officials to repeatedly be elected and to continue to govern.

Perhaps it's time to have a national dialogue to discuss ways to change our political process so that this travesty cannot be repeated.

Allen Walton
Ruffin, N.C.

President Bush's argument regarding Al Qaeda in Iraq is just another attempt to fool the American public. I for one am tired of being given false information by this administration. The US invaded Iraq because it supposedly had weapons of mass destruction. Then the goal of the US mission became to remove Saddam Hussein, until it changed to spreading democracy. Now it's due to Al Qaeda in Iraq. My head is spinning after listening to President Bush and the different reasons for justifying the Iraq war. The current administration will leave the US in a weak and vulnerable position when Bush leaves office. How are we to survive as a nation if this is the best we can put forth?

Daniel Small
Springfield, N.J.

Beware Turkish nationalism, not Islam

In response to the July 24 editorial, "Time to heal US-Turkey wounds," I am of the opinion that balancing out the needs of a society versus the rights of an individual is a tricky task and often an unpleasant one. There is a great risk of unpopularity, if not political suicide, if a leader does not strike the right balance.

I believe that skepticism of religion in government is necessary. The banning of head scarves is difficult not to view as reactionary especially within the Islamic faith. Using that as an example snaps into focus a larger trend in Turkish society. Let us not forget that the Turkish government also has banned the Kurdish language and many Kurdish customs. There is the occasional and ridiculous charge of "insulting Turkishness" slapped on some authors.

Having said all that, whether we should worry about the influence of Islam in Turkish government seems moot when there seems to be a greater prevalence of anti-Enlightenment attitudes. Did Islam make the Turkish government invent the crime of "insulting Turkishness"?

Does Islam make the Turkish government deny the Armenian genocide and marginalize Kurdish citizens? No, I believe that nationalism does such things, and that is a far greater danger than any one religion.

Andrew Tafelski
Los Angeles

Dangers of withdrawal from Iraq

In response to the July 26 article, "In 'surge of facts,' Bush emphasizes Al Qaeda-Iraq link," the fact is obvious that Al Qaeda is now in Iraq. The president seems to now be arguing that because Al Qaeda is in Iraq, our presence there, and the administration's initial decision to invade, must be justified. But Al Qaeda was not necessarily in Iraq before we invaded. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were not the same enemy. The administration took their eye off the ball before the catch was made.

Critics of the Iraq invasion warned all along that this strategy was a tactical and strategic mistake that not only enabled Al Qaeda's recruiting efforts to gain traction, but which gave it an unprecedented opportunity to attack our exposed Army with an impugnity otherwise impossible.

The president struggles to whitewash his mistake and, again, uses our troops as a backdrop for his propaganda because they cannot object.

This president is either dangerously obtuse or he is being intentionally misleading to save his own bacon. Withdrawal not only greatly reduces the opportunity for Al Qaeda to attack us, it allows us to rebuild, and will force Iraq's neighbors to deal with the programs within the country.

Whit Selert
Reno, Nev.

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