Keeping an eye on northern Iraq

Regarding the March 24 article "Old roots to Ankara's Iraq policy": A true failure of diplomacy has been grossly underreported in terms of the US approach to Turkey, where the consequences of the Bush administration's approach may be more serious than the breakdown of transatlantic relations or the effectiveness of the UN Security Council.

Turkey is a long-time US ally. The relationship between the two countries diffused a centuries-long conflict between Turkey and Greece, a key element in what is today a stable and prosperous Europe. At the center of the former Ottoman Empire, Turkish influence remains strong from Southern Europe through Central Asia.

If the policy of the US is to maintain the territorial integrity of Iraq, we face a major problem if Turkey occupies northern portions of the country. After all, possession is 90 percent of the law. The Turks are guaranteed a seat at the reconstruction table if they occupy this territory and, most important, can use that influence to block Kurdish demands for greater autonomy in northern Iraq.

The Turkish Army is not the US army. It is brutal and single-minded. Fighting between Turks and Kurds in northern Iraq will go on long after the US captures the rest of Iraq. Continued instability, possible war crimes, and death and destruction in the north will make reconstruction of Iraq all the more difficult. Even if the Turks leave northern Iraq in a timely manner, Kurds are likely to demand autonomy and be less trusting of the US. If it goes badly in the north, we will pay the price for a long time to come.
Dana Stinson
Arlington, Va.
Political adviser to the former UN Mission in Kosovo

Peace movement needs strategic plan

In response to the March 24 article "Peace activists transition to a time of war": In my opinion, the main failure of the movement for peace has been its lack of a strategic plan for waging peace.

It has been an "anti" program, not a "pro" movement with specific attainable goals. The war hawks have been planning their strategy for years.

It is also obvious that those in the Democratic Party who oppose military action must come up with a military-like strategy for accomplishing the goals of national healthcare, better education, and arts programs.

We, the people, want to hear a viable strategy for a attaining a peaceful and people-friendly government.
Martyn St-Michael
Soquel, Calif.

Some criticize protesters for not supporting those who serve them - our nation's troops and leaders. My challenge to the protesters is much more substantial. I invite them to serve their country in some meaningful endeavor. Protesters should focus their energies toward improving our society. Conscientious citizens contribute to their communities. Every citizen needs to embrace or initiate a worthwhile service project.
C. Michael Flynn
Linden, N.C.

Reporter on the front lines

I applaud P. Amy MacKinnon's March 24 opinion piece "War correspondent's family: a dispatch from the home front." As a former colleague of her husband, I share her concerns and pride for the work he is doing in Iraq. He is a great journalist, whose ability to describe all the specific, revealing detail of the war is admired by his fellow reporters. I also know he's just as great as a father and a husband.

I wish him and his family well. May God bless and keep him safe.
Bill Hutchinson
New York
New York Daily News

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