U.S. is making real progress rebuilding Iraq
Michael Hill's "Quagmire Iraq" (July 13) spends far too much time straining to make tenuous comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam.
We have been on the ground as a liberating and occupying force in Iraq for less than 120 days and in that time the U.S. force of around 145,000 troops has sustained casualties that amount to approximately 1 percent of that total.
During this period, we have managed to oust a brutal regime and succeeded in quelling violence and gaining public support in most areas of the country, except the most fervently pro-Saddam Hussein locales in central Iraq.
While vital infrastructure has been slow to be repaired, the power grid is now functioning more regularly and water is flowing more consistently. And recently, the nucleus of a representative government in Iraq was formed.
Of course we have encountered problems - some of which certainly should have been anticipated, others unforeseen - but despite our missteps we are making real progress.
While we will likely be involved in Iraq for many years, I believe the average Iraqi supports the U.S. intervention and is willing to give us enough time to get his nation headed in the right direction.
Brooks D. Tucker
Rhetoric designed to justify a war
The Sun's article "CIA chief takes blame for error in Bush speech"(July 12) is an excellent analysis of the extent of the dissembling employed by the Bush team to pitch a war against Iraq.
We may never know the complete truth, but it does not look like the inclusion of the nuclear connection in the State of the Union speech was an "error." It does appear that the language was carefully contrived to allow deniability.
The exact wording conveys information that would not justify war - only, perhaps, reasons for further investigation. Yet, delivered as the words were, and given the other provocative charges against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, the entire design of the rhetoric was to prepare the nation for war.
J. Russell Tyldesley
Does the buck stop in the Oval Office?
Having just finished Mr. William R. Polk's "Betting everything on a hoax about Iraq" (July 13), I thought of one of our most forthright presidents in recent memory, Harry S. Truman, who has been quoted as saying, "The buck stops here."
The current administration frequently seems to want the buck to stop well short of the Oval Office.
Don't the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Justice Department, the FBI, the national security adviser and the vice president of the United States talk with their leader (and ours) about such serious matters such as Iraq seeking to procure uranium oxide from Niger?
James P. Burke Jr.
Who forged papers on Niger's uranium?
In William R. Polk's essay exploring the events surrounding the "yellow cake" hoax, he states the obvious but too often ignored fact that "what is known is that some individuals or an organization forged documents to cast blame on Iraq" ("Betting everything on a hoax about Iraq," July 13).
But Mr. Polk's essay (like much of the public discussion so far), failed to follow up on the implications of this fact. I have yet to read of any reporters making an effort to investigate who could have made these forgeries.
Moreover, there remains the more troubling question of how much "intelligence" out there is in fact faulty and based on disinformation and propaganda.
The writer is a professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University.
Rationale recalls the Clinton era
How long will it be until a senior Bush administration official explains the Iraq evidence by saying, "That depends on what the definition of is is"?
James S. Keat
Police play a role in immigration law
The Sun's article "Local police may get a role in immigration law" (July 9) may give readers a wrong interpretation of Rep. Charlie Norwood's bill regarding local and state police working with federal immigration officials.
No one is asking local and state police to take over the task of deporting illegal aliens who have defied our immigration laws by sneaking across our borders or overstaying their visas.
But since such actions are criminal, local police certainly must do their part to make sure federal immigration officials can do their job.
Give Israel credit for prisoner release
The Sun begins its editorial "Embattled Palestinian PM" (July 10) by stating that "the limited release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel is threatening to undermine the leadership of Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and the cease-fire" in the Middle East.
But the road map adopted by Israel and the Palestinian Authority mentions nothing about Israel releasing prisoners at this time. The prisoner release was an added condition by the PA to corral various terrorist factions into the temporary cease-fire. The Israeli government agreed to a limited prisoner release as a confidence-building measure.