Reflecting on the 'Faces of the Fallen'

Regarding your May 12 article "Lost in Iraq: Faces of the Fallen": The faces tell the story more than do the numbers, though the numbers are numbing: 772 soldiers' deaths, 433 children bereft of a parent, and 284 spouses denied their loved one's touch forever. There should be a room in the White House on whose walls should hang the photos of these fallen. And President Bush should have to enter that room and look at and reflect upon those faces until they are burned into his mind. And then he should be made to tell the American public that his war in Iraq is waged with just cause. How many more lives will it take before our own streets fill with the cry, "No more war?"
Maureen E. Doallas
Arlington, Va.

Missing from your coverage about our fallen troops is a similar article portraying the Iraqis who have lost their lives in this war - more than 10 times as many as our troops. Each of them is also an individual with human hopes and dreams. Even more poignant is the fact that this war did not and does not need to be fought. It has nothing to do with eliminating the danger of terrorist attacks against the US; it is doing nothing to reduce hatred for the US; and its cost to the US is too great. There is nothing to be gained by "staying the course." It is better to admit a mistake early and rectify it than to stubbornly persist, and waste more lives and money.
Eugene Hokanson
Mercer Island, Wash.

At 33, after 13 years of being out of the Army (10th Mountain Division), I have reenlisted into the Texas Army National Guard. With the average age of dying soldiers being 27 or 28, maybe we're the ones to take the torch from the first "Greatest Generation." I have not yet been to Iraq, but my turn will come eventually. And should I fall while in service to this great nation, I just wish to be remembered.

When I leave, I will be leaving my wife and two daughters. I have reenlisted not just because of my patriotism, but because I fear terrorism could strike my family. I don't like this situation, but I'm here and I'll do my part. It's sad that every able-bodied man in this country isn't beating down the doors to do his part.
Christopher Smith
Fort Worth, Texas

Much more than 'bad apples'

John Hughes's May 12 column "US mission uneclipsed by a few bad soldiers" brought tears to my eyes because of the absolute distortion of our role in Iraq. A few bad apples, according to Mr. Hughes, should not eclipse the nobility and morality of the American presence in Iraq. Apparently getting rid of Saddam Hussein was our great noble and moral deed. It was hardly mentioned before we went in. We went in because of a threat to world peace due to Iraq's WMDs and development of long-range missiles. Because neither of these fears proved justified we now fervently seek a rationale for being where we never should have gone. Hughes is blind to our motivation to dominate the world's oil reserves.
James R. Smucker
Lacey, Wash.

Returning the casualties of conflict

Your May 13 article "Gaza strife sharpens debate over pullout" correctly notes the intensity of Israeli feeling regarding the immediate return of the remains of their war dead for burial. It neglects to remind us, however, that this is also an important aspect of Islam as well. The Israeli government is notorious for retaining the bodies of Palestinians in its custody. The article gives the impression that only Israelis are aggrieved in this manner and only Palestinians engage in such gross insensitivity.
Barry Flanagan
Tucker, Ga.

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