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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

New Chapter in Iraq Is Far From the End of the Story

June 30, 2004

Re "Iraqis Quietly Take Power After Bremer's Early Exit," June 29: We will not negotiate with terrorists. We will not give in to terrorists. We will not back down to terrorists. And by the way, we decided to hold our planned Iraqi hand-over in secret two days early because of threats from terrorists.

Tarik Trad

Glendale

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Now that the concept of "sovereignty" -- so called -- is in place, my question is this: When the next Marine dies, who is he dying for? Is he dying for the United States or the Iraqis -- who hate our guts?

Jack Spiegelman

Los Angeles

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Re "Born Under a Cloud of Irony," Commentary, June 29: Robert Scheer accuses Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of being a former terrorist while defending Saddam Hussein's legal well-being. It is good that he has the right to pose his ridiculous blather, for it helps us search harder for understandings about the difficult terrorist situation that threatens every American.

The important irony here is that no matter how hard you stare through the mirror of truth, the intolerant left looks just like the intolerant right.

Gene A. Blinde

Crestline

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Re "A State That's Not a State," by Adam Hochschild, Commentary, June 28: What's a country called that has the occupying nation controlling the military, paying the bills, installing the largest embassy staff in the world, building 14 permanent military bases and appointing the key commissioners to five-year terms? Anything Dick Cheney wants to name it.

Libby Breen

Altadena

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Re "A Worldwide Family," Opinion, June 27: Diana Abu-Jaber has it right. The solution to the disaster that the Iraq war has become is beyond the finger-pointing of politics. The solution is within each of us as we decide what we stand for individually and collectively as a nation. Through the power of our decision we can create a nation of honor, compassion, strength and finally be free from the yoke of fear that keeps us from embracing the family of humankind.

I agree with Abu-Jaber. For America this is no longer about saving Iraq. It is about saving ourselves from ourselves.

Kenneth Roeder

Pacoima

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Contrary to what Abu-Jaber claims, I seriously doubt that President Bush is attempting "to impose (America's) cultural values and beliefs" on Iraq. The people of Iraq are free to enjoy their culture. Bush just doesn't think that Hussein, who killed tens of thousands, should be part of that "culture." Nor does he believe that beheadings should be part of it. But once Iraq has achieved independence, let the cultural beheadings go on.

Burl Estes

Mission Viejo

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Re "Iraq Insurgency Showing Signs of Momentum," June 26: Insurgency? The one thing proponents and opponents of the invasion of Iraq have agreed on is that we can't allow our venture to foment civil war. Doesn't anyone get it that it already is a civil war? A fact that was known to historians before we barged in is that Iraq has been in a state of real or incipient civil war since the Brits, after World War I, jammed a handful of disparate tribal areas together so England could control the vast oil deposits.

Even under the nominally unifying and explicitly repressive tyranny of Hussein, it still boiled over; what do you call the Baathist massacre of Kurds or the crushed rebellions that followed the Gulf War? Now we have created a new chaos and rationale under which it has resumed. What has our war of desire accomplished?

Dick Guttman

Beverly Hills

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