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Putting a New Face on U.S. Iraq Policy

October 13, 2003

Re "Bush Seeking to Shift Iraq Focus to the Positive," Oct. 9: President Bush is doing his usual trick of trying to convince Americans that now we will have new, better control on the occupation of Iraq under national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, when what he really is doing is putting a spin on the media reporting.

Instead of reporting on all the riots, rock-throwing, attacks and killings by Iraqis, now the media will be informing us of soccer games, new schools, etc., which will give us a positive attitude on what is happening there.

The facts won't change, but what we are told will be changed. Then we will support this quagmire, which is killing our troops and Iraqis with no end in sight. What will happen to reporters who report on the anger and violence by Iraqis? Will they be punished or banished from Iraq?

And why isn't anyone reporting on how many Iraqis are killed? As far as I can tell, about 20,000, including civilians and military Iraqis, have died because of the war. Are we so arrogant that we think Iraqi deaths caused by our forces aren't important?

September Bowman

Goleta

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Rice said, "The people of Iraq are free and working toward a self-government." Apparently she fails to recognize the obvious incompatibility of the two parts of her statement. A free people are, among other things, self-governed. If they are not yet self-governed they are not free.

In referring to the Iraqi people as free, Rice echoes Bush and other administration officials who evidently subscribe to an incredibly loose definition of the term "free." Normally this definition would encompass free elections (postponed), a free press (head of the occupation L. Paul Bremer III has shut newspapers down) and due process, let alone the absence of a foreign occupying army. The only thing they are free of is the fear of sudden arrests and torture by Saddam Hussein's secret police, but this has been replaced by fear of arrest by the U.S. Army (no torture, at least) and random violence on the street.

Michael Davenport

Encino

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Asking the Turkish government to send troops to Iraq is like adding fat to the fire (Oct. 8). Is Rice totally ignorant of the recent history of Turkish invasions of Iraqi border regions to wipe out Kurdish nationalist opponents?

Of course Turkey will put troops in northern Iraq! That would allow it to suppress the majority Kurds and promote the minority Turkmens (ethnic Turks), especially in the oil-rich Kirkuk region, which will ultimately work to their advantage in suppressing the legitimate aspirations of the Kurds in Turkish Kurdistan.

Is the Bush administration totally ignorant or asleep at the wheel? Or is it so desperate to show "international support" in Iraq that it will take the risk of setting off a conflagration in northern Iraq?

Peter Hainey

Ventura

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