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Watching the Horrors of War on Television

November 13, 2003

Re "Don't Deny Horrors of War," Commentary, Nov. 11: Michael Takiff deplores the sanitization of this war. For my own part, the war has been a revolution in perception. Popcorn in hand, I watched the first part back in the spring, from my home in Fountain Valley.With all the patriotic music and self-congratulatory talking heads on TV, it was very exciting. Especially because it was such a cakewalk.

Now, living in Spain, I have seen a very different side of the war. Every night on TV the dead and wounded, both Americans and Iraqis, "march" across the screen. And even when the mutilated bodies are whisked away or cordoned off behind barriers, the camera crews almost always get the pools of American and Iraqi blood left behind after clean-up. With such daily carnage in front of my face, the war is no longer as fun as it once was. I wonder, what would happen to the rest of the tepid support for Bush's war if the truth wasn't hidden away? And how can our democracy justify this deception?

Jeff Birkenstein

San Sebastian, Spain

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I cried when reading the names of the 383 soldiers, ("An Honor Roll of Sacrifice in Iraq," Nov. 11), killed in Iraq. It was as though the printed pages were a replica of the Vietnam memorial in Washington. And just as senseless, because President Bush was emulating the lies by President Johnson to justify his reason for war.

Bush's reason for going to war in Iraq was his proven evidence of weapons of mass destruction -- total deception by using falsified intelligence. His dictatorial disregard for the democratic process has changed the respect and high regard the world had for America. All these beautiful young people, the finest of the fine, are dead because of the maniacal rush to war.

Paul Siegel

Cambria, Calif.

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Bravo to Patt Morrison for her courageous and illuminating Nov. 11 column on returning veterans and war dead. She points out not only the shoddy treatment accorded living (especially wounded) veterans but the sneaky and cowardly censorship by the government of photos of returning dead bodies from Iraq. I feel that as those planes land at Dover Air Force Base and unload those flag-draped coffins, our commander in chief should be standing there, rigid and proud, shouting, "Bring 'em on!"

Shelley Martin

San Pedro

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Rather than call the ongoing violence in Iraq "terrorism" or "resistance," let's admit the truth -- that the war isn't over and that it can't be "won" in any meaningful way through military means. If the 58,000 lives lost in Vietnam were to have taught us anything, it should have been that foreign conquest is not the way to peace. I grieve anew over the realization that their lives didn't even purchase us the wisdom to avoid repeating this tragic mistake.

Frank Cash

San Diego

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