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President's U.N. Address Leaves Some Speechless

September 23, 2004

George Bush claimed in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly that Afghanistan and Iraq are on the path to "freedom and democracy" (Sept. 22). However, the objective reality is that both countries are occupied by foreign military forces and that the occupying powers, mainly the United States, exercise controlling influence on all important aspects of life in those countries, particularly the political process.

Both countries are now led by regimes that were handpicked by the U.S., not by their people, and it is these regimes that are now overseeing the process of "elections." It is simply logical to assume that the occupiers and their chosen Afghan and Iraqi leaders will not allow any political outcome that is viewed as detrimental to the interests of the occupying power. So much for being on the path to "freedom and democracy."

Saif M. Hussain

Woodland Hills

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I watched Bush's speech at the United Nations and was increasingly appalled at its truculent, unilateralist message. It was a speech designed solely to bolster his campaign for reelection. It dramatically illustrated why Bush will never get cooperation from our allies on Iraq. As many have pointed out, we need to be aware that one effect of Bush's policies is to make America feared, disliked and disrespected in most of the world. This is an important reason why we are less safe now than four years ago.

Marc Merson

Sherman Oaks

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Talk about giving a propaganda boost to our enemies, your headlines do just that. While terrorists behead still another hostage, using the Internet for maximum horrific effect, your lead story is "U.S. Probing Alleged Abuse of Afghans" (Sept. 21). How do you justify the ongoing attention devoted to a few acts of aberrant behavior by U.S. soldiers, while not crying out in outrage over the far more numerous, planned atrocities by our enemies?

The U.S. was attacked by terrorists who hate our freedoms and all that we represent in the world. The Iraqis are under siege by insurgents seeking political control. They seek legitimacy through worldwide propaganda while employing barbarous violence against those who seek stability.

Thomas A. Patronite

Alta Loma

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In this heated election season I find it hard to believe that the decision process to go to war with Iraq has not been the highlight issue. This country was sorely misled based on trumped-up evidence that has now been discredited. Now we are faced with an exercise in "nation-building" with no foreseeable end at great cost to our men and women in uniform.

Who has been held accountable for this tragic (intentional?) lapse of judgment? No one so far.

As a father of two young boys, I fear the need for a reinstitution of the draft in the coming years. The hard lessons learned from Vietnam have been lost on our present leadership or, more ominously, willfully disregarded. Let's hope the electorate will not have forgotten these painful lessons on Nov. 2.

David A. Sweeney

Long Beach

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His words about Iraq at the United Nations were beautiful, and fervently delivered: democracy, freedom, human dignity, elections, hope. Tragically, the reality on the ground bears little or no resemblance to what Bush would have us believe.

Like the emperor who imagined himself beautifully dressed, Bush has "cloaked" himself and Iraq in reams of velvet and satin. From what I read and see on TV daily, I fear that our president is running around buck naked.

Rachel Galperin

Encino

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