From abroad, US goals don't always look so noble

Regarding the Sept. 20 article "Classic guerrilla war forming in Iraq": If anyone in the US really wants to understand what is going on in the world, they have to both travel and have access to the international media. As an expat in the United Arab Emirates, I have access to 800 TV channels representing virtually every country. Watching world media coverage gives the impression that the US is widely perceived as a superpower bully trying to dominate the economic and political playing field, and having chosen to pick on Muslims, does so wherever it finds any criticism or negative reaction.

It is often the most secular young people in the Muslim world and beyond who are the angriest, and who perceive US bullying as antidemocratic and dangerous, and needing to be stopped by any means necessary. It is clear that the US had better wake up and get out of the global bully business, starting with Iraq and Afghanistan.
John Brownson
Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates

I am a black South African who was oppressed by white Christians in South Africa. All I ever wanted was to be free. I was labeled a terrorist by the apartheid government and conveniently classed as a Communist.

Your recent article quotes a war leader as saying that the war can be won only by killing insurgents faster than new ones can be created. I clearly remember similar words being uttered by white Army officials during the height of apartheid. The result was atrocities too hideous to repeat.

Ultimately we gained our freedom despite heavy casualties. The reason was simple - a society's passion for freedom can never be killed. One only has to watch the blockbuster Hollywood movies that glorify the struggle for freedom, and then take the next step and understand that the quest for freedom is not a white prerogative - it is the prerogative of all mankind.

Perhaps Americans need to look at what they do and reflect on who they have become. Preserving Americans' freedom and way of life is a noble mission, but it should never be at the expense of another's freedom and their society's destruction. Let's build a better world, not an oppressed one.
Naz Adams
Johannesburg, South Africa

How much does Iraq differ from Vietnam?

Regarding the Sept. 17 article, "What's behind US strategy shift in Iraq war": In Vietnam we fought conventional forces and guerrillas on their terms in their homeland. In Iraq, we fight guerrillas once again in their territory and on their cultural terms: "If you attack us, then we'll attack your supporters and their families." So, is it really only the spending of money that "Vietnamizes" this battle, or isn't the will of a cunning and determined enemy also a major factor in this attempted "democratization" of Iraq?
Daniel J. Johnson
Hainesville, Ill.

Welcome news from Iraq for US soldier

I really enjoyed reading the Sept. 15 article, "Always in hiding, an Iraqi interpreter's anguished life," about the interpreter Khalid Ahmed. I remember him from when I spent time in Mosul with the 101st Airborne Division.

I was with the 431st Civil Affairs Battalion, supporting the 101st. One of my initial jobs for the 101st was to find and manage interpreters for the division before interpreter management was taken over by Titan Corporation. I am glad Khalid is doing well and staying safe. I certainly miss many of the Iraqi people that I spent almost a year working with. It is a real joy to read about how they are doing.
David Baumgardner
Bryan, Texas

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