Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 12, 2007

Triumph over terror key to our security

On Wednesday evening, I listened very intently to President Bush explaining why he is sending an additional 20,000-plus troops to Iraq ("Iraq Situation `Unacceptable,'" Jan. 11).

Frankly, I was not sold on his reasoning, although I am not a military strategist or privy to the intelligence that may have contributed to Mr. Bush's decision.

But what I was sold on was his portrayal of the consequences should we fail to win the war against the terrorists, in Iraq and elsewhere.

Unlike our failed attempt to bring order to South Vietnam, failure in Iraq would pose a direct threat to our country.

The Sun's editorial "Staying the course" (Jan. 11) confirmed to me that the intense public criticism of Mr. Bush's prosecution of the war by the media and by anti-Bush politicians is helping prepare Americans to lose the war in Iraq.

Almost all Americans have some misgivings about the evidence for going to war in the first place. So, OK, let's review the errors we have made and fix them. But first, let's get behind our president and military and win this war.

Mistakes happen in wars, and people are killed as a result of those mistakes.

But the important fact is this: We either fight the terrorists on their territory or fight them on ours. I would rather fight them on their territory.

Will it take another 9/11-type attack to wake up Americans to why we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq?

Sadly, I think so.

Ron Wirsing

Havre de Grace

`Surge' is a gamble unlikely to work

The president's plan for a troop "surge" in Iraq is the last-ditch action of a desperate man, one who will try anything as he seeks late in the game to snatch some measure of victory from the jaws of consistent failure ("Iraq Situation `Unacceptable,'" Jan. 11).

While it is gratifying to note that a president who so rarely admits to a mistake has acknowledged errors in his Iraq war strategy, most of the American people know that it is too late to successfully reverse course -- that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated so badly and the civil war there rages so intractably that it is impossible to bring peace to the many Iraqi people who seem to prefer war and the perpetuation of age-old ethnic hatreds.

If the new strategy in Iraq works, it will be a first, and a wild gamble that paid off.

With so much on the line, however, this is a gamble not worth taking -- and one the American people do not support.

What difference does our vote make if those who are elected, even those who are lame ducks, can spit in our faces with no real consequences?

Oren M. Spiegler

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Iraq posed no threat to American liberty

As a veteran of the Vietnam era, I was struck by President Bush's statement on Wednesday night that many of the brave young men and women who have served in Iraq had died protecting our freedom. This carefully crafted statement is patently untrue.

While Baltimore police officers may indeed die to protect my freedom and safety, those serving in Iraq are fighting for a political cause initiated by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney's invasion of Iraq.

Iraq certainly was not a threat to my freedom, so let us not now buy into Mr. Bush's heroic-sounding platitudes.

What's most sad is the fact that our young people are dying in an "unacceptable" situation for which the president and his advisers have not been held accountable.

This represents a tragic waste of human and capital resources and leaves a legacy that puts the United States on par with other aggressive, militaristic nations in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Tim Foresman

Elkridge

The writer is an adviser to the Institute of Multi-Track Diplomacy.

More troops to face shortage of armor

It is appalling and irrational to send a "surge" of young Americans to fight in Iraq when even the current forces are not adequately protected by the necessary armor ("Better armor lacking for new troops in Iraq," Jan. 10).

President Bush is ignoring the wishes and wisdom of his own generals and the voters of this country in protracting this debacle of a war -- and placing more and more young people in harm's way without adequate equipment.

Beth Greenland

Towson

Caging the animals may repulse public

The biggest challenge faced by the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore isn't a lack of funding or its aging facility; it's the public's growing intolerance about keeping animals in cages for our entertainment ("The zoo blues," editorial, Jan. 1).

Animals in zoos are housed in cages that don't come close to the jungles, deserts and forests that are their natural homes.

They have no choice in their diets, mates or living companions. Every aspect of their lives is controlled and managed.

More and more people believe there is no justification for keeping animals in cages for our fleeting distraction and amusement.

Given the entrenched problems at the zoo, serious thought should be given to transforming the Maryland Zoo to a private sanctuary for abused, abandoned and neglected exotic animals.

Jennifer O'Connor

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