Re "U.S. Insists Syria Alter Its Course," April 14: In the teaching profession we have objectives. We plan our teaching strategies with those objectives in mind and do not claim success until our assessments show that the students have met those objectives. For the war in Iraq, our president announced repeatedly that our two objectives were to get Saddam Hussein and to find and destroy his weapons of mass destruction.
The shouts of victory and success seem a bit premature. Oh well, perhaps if we can't find either Hussein or the weapons, we can distract the world with an attack on Syria. Maybe then everyone will forget why we went into Iraq in the first place.
Now that the training exercise in Iraq is over, who is next? Obviously Syria!
Last weekend North Korea and Iran each gave signs indicating they want to negotiate their relationship with the U.S. These are not disjointed, unrelated events; in each case there exists a causal relation, i.e., the U.S.' stunning victory in Iraq. You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.
Now is the time for the U.S., in conjunction with the United Nations, to urge the dictator Bashar Assad very strongly to end Syria's two-decade, repressive occupation of Lebanon and withdraw its 35,000 troops from that sovereign nation immediately.
The former "axis of evil" powers were North Korea, Iran and Iraq. With Iraq liberated, Assad must be careful not to stupidly stumble into the vacated opening in the triad. Perhaps President Bush will encourage Assad to step carefully.
Wanna know what happened to all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? They were secretly shipped to the next country we are going to invade.
David A. Grey
I appreciate William Arkin's idea that the United States should heed the pain of grieving Iraqi families, including the families of the dead and wounded soldiers (Opinion, April 13). This is very important. I also appreciate his mentioning of hospitals and morgues overflowing with dead and wounded.
Where he is wrong is that it does matter how many Iraqis died. This war was illegal, as it was unprovoked. Iraq was no threat to anybody, thanks to years of sanctions and bombings. Iraq had no connection to 9/11, and the Iraqi people did not ask us to come and help them. Therefore the U.S. has to be held accountable for the deaths and maimings it caused -- and reparations would be the right approach.
For almost a week now, ever since I saw that statue of Hussein fall in Baghdad, I've felt something. Others I've talked to say they have felt something too. Maybe you are feeling it. Twenty-one days to Baghdad, liberation from tyranny for an oppressed people -- yes, I'm proud to be an American!
Shlomo Avineri has hit the nail on the head (Opinion, April 13). The idea of a pluralistic, democratic Iraq is beyond ridiculous. It seems that no one in the U.S. government considered the history of the Middle East when dreaming up this fantasy scenario. The best case we could hope for would be an autocracy; the worst case a totalitarian system like Hussein's.
It's high time that this Bush administration begins to level with us, in lieu of the misinformation that we continue to receive.
It is right and proper that the Iraqi people should reap the profits from their oil fields. It is also right and proper that these profits be used for rebuilding Iraq. It is also right and proper that the United States control the oil and that a percentage of the profits be channeled to the U.S. to repay the cost of the war.
The role of France, Russia, Germany and the United Nations should be to provide humanitarian aid.
V. Fred Rayser
Re "Ancient Wonders Are History as Mob Plunders Iraq Museum," April 13: How shortsighted of the Iraqis. Protecting history for thousands of years and not having the prescience to move their museums of antiquities to the oil fields before the Americans liberated them.
Does anyone else notice the similarities in looting the National Museum in Iraq and failing to preserve wilderness areas of the U.S.?
Both, when the original treasures are lost, are impossible to replace. The looters in both cases hope to make money in the present rather than value the treasure for the long term. And both behaviors break my heart.
Rancho Palos Verdes
The chaos in Baghdad resembles the Old West without the sheriff. What else could we expect of a cowboy dictator?