Re "Cleric's Militia Still Controls Najaf Mosque," Aug. 22: How much longer can President Bush ignore the views of the French, the Russians and the rest of the world? They claim we're not listening to the will of the Iraqi people, and they're right. We should be listening to the Iraqis and acting on their behalf.
For instance, cleric Muqtada Sadr's supporters hung a banner inside the occupied shrine that reads, "Where is the bullet that will grant me martyrdom?"
Well, President Bush, we need to provide that bullet as quickly as possible.
I am appalled that so much of the American media does not understand that Najaf is a Shiite shrine city, with the Shrine of Imam Ali -- not something that America owns or controls.
The Shrine of Imam Ali for the Shiites is like the Vatican for Catholics and the Western Wall for Jews. No true Muslims would order an attack on such a revered holy site. Also, clearly, if the American military were intent on capturing or killing Sadr and stopping this uprising, they could be patient and starve him out. As a former officer in the military, I know that one does not have to be a military genius to use this tactic.
Bush, Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and the U.S. military may have started a war with the Muslims, especially the Shiites in Najaf and the Sunni in Fallujah. Unfortunately, this war will not end in our lifetime because the Muslims, coming from a traditional religious society, have long memories.
Those of us who are for peace must find a way to stop this unholy war before it is too late, though it may already be too late unless Bush and Sen. John Kerry do an about-face in Iraq.
Director, Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., retired