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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Let's Talk: Letters on Iraq



We have received numerous letters from readers this week on the war in Iraq and the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Just what is our mission?

Regarding the editorial "Mission far from accomplished" (May 1): I do agree, but I am struggling with what the mission was in the beginning, what the mission is today and what it will be a year from now.

At first it was to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction, then it was to bring democracy to the people of Iraq plus several politically motivated reasons now disregarded. Now it is the possibility of freedom for the people of Iraq. Sounds good.

With all this flipping and flopping, it is no wonder support for war is waning. What is the mission?

Harold E. Schultz, Springfield Township

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Are we losing our national soul?

The wretched prison photos have simply visualized an issue that has been building for some time, and goes far beyond Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's job or the war in Iraq. I am talking about whether we're trampling over ideas that have made America unique in the world for the last 225 years.

I'm sorry about what the world thinks about our civil rights record at the moment; but I am desperately afraid we are losing our national soul.

I spent two years in France and Germany as a GI in World War II, and while I saw a great deal of suffering (war is never a pretty sight), I came out of it proud of my country and the fact that my generation tried its level best to uphold the principles America stands for. I'm not sure I can say that today.

Miner Raymond, East Walnut Hills

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Al-Qaida launched the war of terror

A recent letter to the editor ("Bush helps few, hasn't won a war," May 11) in response to Peter Bronson's column "President Bush proves that he is the real deal" (May 9) suggested that the war in Iraq has "initiated terrorism." Really? I thought we didn't go into Iraq until after 9-11, or Beirut, or the USS Cole.

It's debatable whether we have "won" the war in Afghanistan, but there is no doubt al-Qaida's ability to wage war has been severely hampered.

Carl Hall, Symmes Township

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Blame guards for prisoner abuse

While the president and secretary of defense will take most of the heat for the appalling abuse of the POWs at the Abu Ghraib prison, a good bit of the blame goes to the soldiers that actually committed these disgusting acts. But blame also lies with us, the citizenry. We allowed the military to be cut to levels that encouraged these types of shameful acts to happen.

The lesson to be learned is we never know where our next enemy will come from and that it is absolutely imperative that we maintain the strongest defense possible.

Jim Niemeyer, Northgate

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Media shouldn't spread abuse story

While I do not condone the torture of any prisoners, I feel that when it is found out, the information should be extremely accurate, and in the case of ill treatment of prisoners by Americans, not as much information should have been released. I feel that the release of this information may have been exaggerated by the news media, resulting in the increase of torture and death of our people being held in Iran. It's way past time for the media to clean up their act.

Robert Levy, Blue Ash

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A 'superb' list of mistakes

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is doing a "superb" job, according to the president.

How about we list his accomplishments:

Under his direction thus far:

1. American troops have been deployed to Iraq without sufficient body armor.

2. Their primary form of transportation, the Humvee, has less armor than a tuna can.

3. And soon coming to this list: A group of court-martialed non-commissioned scapegoats who should have known better shouldering the weight of this entire abuse scandal.

Matt Hueneman, Mount Adams

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Rumsfeld should stay on the job

I disagree strongly with the letter "Rumsfeld must quit to aid moral case" (May 13) recommending Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. I do not see what that would accomplish other than eliminating one of our most courageous, dynamic and ethical leaders in our government.

As a retired military officer, I hold one person responsible for the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison, the commander in charge of the installation. This is the person who should set the tone to the company grade officers and the non-commissioned officers in the supervision of the prison guards and treatment of prisoners. This is the person responsible.

Terry Bell, Alexandria




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