Iraq war only adds to roster of the dead The epilogue...


September 12, 2006

Iraq war only adds to roster of the dead

The epilogue to The Sun's chilling recollection of the transcripts from Sept. 11, 2001, reminds us that 2,973 people lost their lives in the events of that awful day ("`I think we're getting hijacked,'" Sept. 10).

We must never forget the horror and sadness that was perpetrated on these men and women and their families by fanatical terrorists.

At the same time, we should reflect on the tragic irony that ensued when the Bush administration lost its proper focus in the war on terror (on al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan) and waged war on a nation and people who had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

To date, nearly 2,700 American soldiers have died in that senseless war.

In light of our leaders' stubborn unwillingness to admit their mistakes and get our brave troops out of Iraq, it seems sadly inevitable that the number of American deaths there will soon surpass the number lost on 9/11.

When will we regain our focus on the real enemies?

And when do we restore the goodwill of much of the world that has been squandered by arrogance and ineptitude?

William O. Blackwell


Five years later, we're no safer

President Bush would like us to see the debacle in Iraq as part of a difficult but ultimately constructive response to the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001 ("America safer, not yet safe, Bush says," Sept. 6).

But the truth is that the Iraq war is a disaster, a monument to arrogant incompetence, an exorbitant, costly and destructive squandering of human life.

Five years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Americans knew that Sept. 11, 2001, would mark a turning point in our history, if not the history of the world. But a turn toward what?

Toward a more shrewd and effective foreign policy? Toward stronger alliances and global cooperation in fighting terror?

Toward a greater determination to show the world the strength of our democracy and the rule of law?

No. Instead, in these last five years, we have alienated almost all of our allies and emboldened those who seek to challenge us.

We have re-elected an incompetent president who continues to exploit our fears to justify a senseless war against a country that had no part in the 9/11 attacks.

We have hidden from public view the deaths of more than 2,600 American military personnel in Iraq, the wounding of 19,000 more and the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

We have tolerated the sinister and undemocratic idea that questioning the president is unpatriotic.

We have become complacent in the face of government secrecy, human rights abuses and restrictions on civil liberties, while rewarding this president with ever-increasing power.

Who can look at any of this and claim that this administration and the Republican Congress have made us even the slightest bit safer or stronger?

Martha Fitzpatrick Bishai


President strives to protect us all

The U.S. government has no more urgent and basic obligation than to protect the American people in time of war.

In his Sept. 6 speech, President Bush outlined the steps the United States is taking to detain and question the world's most violent terrorists and also announced needed legislation to bring these terrorists before military tribunals ("Bush says CIA has prisons overseas," Sept. 7).

The secret CIA prisons whose existence the president acknowledged are a necessary tool to keep us safe from these dangerous terrorists.

Yet time and time again, some Democrats in Washington have continued to question why our government needs tools such as these tribunals to prevent attacks on American soil.

They have questioned the terrorist surveillance program by the National Security Agency and tried to kill the much-needed Patriot Act.

The terrorists in U.S. custody are dangerous murderers who would kill again and again if set free.

It is vital to fully support our intelligence agencies and military and see that they have every necessary means to combat this threat.

Al Eisner


Early voting robs no one of a vote

The letter "Give Ehrlich credit for upholding laws" (Sept. 7) makes some claims that surprise me - that the "early voting scheme" the legislature voted into law gave "an advantage to some voters while denying the same opportunity to others" and thus constituted an effort "to disenfranchise a substantial number of voters and usurp the Maryland Constitution."

As I understand it, the justification for the bill was that it may be more difficult for urban residents to vote on polling day than for suburban and rural residents, and therefore, in the interests of fairness and equal protection, they should get a longer period to vote.

You can certainly argue against this point if you wish, although given the national news of polling problems specific to urban precincts in recent elections, I think you'd be on rather shaky ground.

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