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Decisive action is needed in Iraq

August 17, 2007

Re "Top general may propose pullbacks," Aug. 15

Surrounded by the dust of an ancient civilization, the eternal spirit of hope and courage rises from the photo of American soldiers circled in prayer. But the Bush administration's and Congress' wishy-washy strategies measure these soldiers' lives. The troop surges and planned reductions, the shuffling of American military to "hot spots" and the continued deadly bombings by insurgents reflect the frail grasp the United States has on Iraq. Our government must show the same courage as our soldiers and fully commit to squashing any opposition to American presence in this region or immediately pull out all our troops and negotiate with whomever prevails in Iraq. If President Bush and Congress continue to waffle on Iraq, then the ultimate sacrifice these praying soldiers may pay will be in vain.

Helen Tackett

Fullerton

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Gen. David H. Petraeus said he'd tell us in September if Iraq met the benchmarks the president set. Now he is saying Iraq hasn't met the deadlines but there's some improvement and he'll need six more months to tell. We've been caught up in a civil war; the Iraq government adjourned because it was too hot. American kids are in full battle gear in the heat defending people who are afraid to join us in their fight. Keep your word, President Bush and Gen. Petraeus.

Eileen Murphy

Huntington Beach

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The September report from Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, on the surge and political progress has been billed as critically important information to guide Congress and the administration in determining our future Iraq policy. But The Times reports that the report "would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government." Thus, the administration will write a report justifying whatever actions it wants to take in Iraq and bill the report as the product of Petraeus' and Crocker's painstaking analysis and expert judgment.

The only problem is that this report will be a White House sales pitch rather than a reasoned report by our two key people on the ground.

In discovering this mislabeling of the report, The Times has performed a valuable public service, so that the American people can evaluate the report as a White House document, not an objective analysis by our two senior professionals in Iraq.

Charles Wyle

Los Angeles

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