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Past Presidents Unfairly Compared to Bush

September 26, 2004

Re "History Can Offer Bush Hope," Commentary, Sept. 23: Writer Max Boot would have us believe that Iraq wasn't a war of choice. Iraq was contained. It had an ill-equipped military that collapsed overnight, no air force, no navy, no weapons of mass destruction and no ability to move beyond its borders. Roosevelt, Truman, Lincoln and the rest of the presidential elite would have kept their eyes on the prize and gone after Osama bin Laden. John F. Kerry's "flip-flopping" is only exceeded by the fibbing, feckless failure in the White House who has driven this nation into an endless war, a quagmire of debt and a divisive dose of corporate protectionism and tax write-offs for the rich.

Jim Carey

Seattle

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Boot's comparing Bush's screw-ups in Iraq to those of Roosevelt in World War II and Lincoln in the Civil War fails to acknowledge one key point: The latter two could explain why they got into those wars in the first place.

Robin Steele

Pacific Palisades

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Boot forgets that Lincoln fired many incompetent generals before he found Grant. In the Bush administration, the best way for people to get fired is to say things that Bush, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney don't want to hear.

Colin Whipple

La Habra

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Boot certainly makes the point that presidential wartime errors have occurred throughout history. However, the notion that Bush can be compared to Lincoln or FDR is foolish. Neither can we compare the scope of the Civil War nor World War II, which neither of those presidents chose, to the mistargeted action in Iraq. The comparison with FDR is most ironic, as he responded to a "preemptive strike" from Japan at Pearl Harbor. Our present military might, built upon the ire and fortitude of the American people's reaction to Pearl Harbor, is being squandered on a preemptive war that has nothing to do with Sept. 11, while Bin Laden continues to wander the world.

Michael Leigh

Costa Mesa

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