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Iraq occupation will continue for some time

November 17, 2005

If the majority of Americans feel that President Bush and Congress should start to put together a concrete timeline for our withdrawal from Iraq (Nov. 16), then why does the president continue with his "stay the course" rhetoric, and why did the vote in the Senate Tuesday reflect differently from our wishes? My mistake; I forgot that the executive, legislative and judicial branches are controlled by a small group of power-hungry officials. It's not their loved ones getting killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, so why should they care?

JOE MARTINEZ

El Segundo

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The chances of withdrawing from Iraq anytime soon are low because the Bush administration would have to admit that entering Iraq was a mistake. If history is a guide, whenever a country makes such a strategic blunder, the leaders responsible are unable to accept their responsibility.

President Johnson would not extricate the U.S. from Vietnam; Nixon did. Prime Minister Menachem Begin would not extricate Israel from Lebanon; Ehud Barak did. We must wait three years until a new president is elected before there's a chance of withdrawal, and it will cost thousands more lives, all because of the president's ego.

DAVID AMITAI

Los Angeles

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Re "We should pay to plan for nation building," Opinion, Nov. 16

Incredibly, Max Boot fails to point out that the American public was never in favor of nation building in Iraq. In fact, the administration made clear before the Iraq invasion that there wouldn't be the need for nation building because the Iraqis would treat us as "liberators" and the Iraqi oil production would cover much of our costs. Both assertions proved false.

Boot is right on one account: The issue is how well will we go about nation building now that we're mired in it. The answer, clearly, is not well as long as the Bush administration is in charge. It's a long, sorry list of governing incompetence -- including the part about nation building.

TIMOTHY DOWNS

Coto de Caza

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