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War in Iraq Reaches Into Hearts and Minds

September 10, 2004

Re "U.S. Toll in Iraq Reaches 1,000," Sept. 8: It is sad to know the death of even one U.S. serviceman in Iraq. But to those who say we do not belong there, I have this to say: The war in Iraq has nothing to do with spreading democracy. We have troops there to protect our economic interests. If our nation was not addicted to oil, we would not be there.

As for the young servicemen who die there, they were not drafted. They voluntarily joined, knowing that they might be killed or wounded in the course of their employment. If you are against the war, do not have your sons or daughters join the military and stop complaining about the high cost of filling up at the gas station.

Henry Sakaida

Temple City

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The photo of Lisa Moran saying goodbye to her husband, Master Sgt. Jesse Moran (Sept. 8), did elicit a thousand words and thoughts, I'm sure, from every American who saw it. Lately, my mornings are filled with tears, reading the sufferings of the world in The Times. Lisa Moran's face showed me the entire picture. I cried with her. I hope God will keep Master Sgt. Jesse Moran, and all our fighting men, in the palm of his hand and bring them safely home very soon. If Sen. John Kerry keeps his word, that could happen.

Rita Seney

Mission Viejo

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Some have made the point that our incursion into Iraq has diverted our attention from our original objective of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden. Even with the large number of troops we have, this may be true. But let's look at the same situation from the point of view of the terrorists. There are certainly fewer of them than we have in uniform, and they also have two objectives now: the property and citizens in the U.S., and the U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.

Isn't the attention of the terrorists now divided also? Could that be part of the reason they have not been able to mount another organized attack in the U.S. like 9/11 for three years? If so, the presence of our troops in Iraq is clearly making a significant contribution to our safety.

James Payton

Rancho Mirage

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The terrorists in Russia apparently think that their legitimate desire for freedom justifies unimaginable violence. The events of this week again highlight how slippery the slope is when you embrace the idea that the end justifies the means. When the United States initiated a preventive war against Iraq on flimsy evidence, we risked American lives, damaged our national economy, energized and empowered our enemies, lost our momentum in Afghanistan, lost our focus on stopping the actual terrorists who attacked us and lost the respect and cooperation of our allies. We are not stronger or safer as a result of the war in Iraq. At what point does someone have to take responsibility for this ongoing catastrophe?

Heidi Cohen

Santa Barbara

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