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War is never simplistic

August 19, 2007

Re "Wars within wars," Opinion, Aug. 12

Regarding Washington's simplistic views of the Iraqi citizenry, is it also perhaps ironic that American citizens and their presidents share a similarly simplistic view of our own soldiers? While no one doubts the noble sacrifices every one of our soldiers are making, certainly many are fighting for different aspects of the American dream: a chance at a higher education or vocational training or because of family tradition or, like Pat Tillman, defense of our country; and, despite the risk of jail and persecution, some soldiers have chosen not to fight at all. The bottom line is there is no simple way of looking at any war and its often diverse and disparate goals and causes, nor at more than 3,000 American casualties, nor at 70,000 Iraqi civilian casualties, although our president would like us to think there is, and we would like to believe.

Christian

Cushing-Murray

Santa Ana

Richard Engel lists many conflicts raging in Iraq and describes the underlying religious conflict our soldiers cannot hope to resolve. We are stuck in this quagmire because President Bush abandoned two centuries of American tradition and foolishly invaded a foreign country. Now we need to wake up from this nightmare and return not to a pre-9/11 reality but to that wonderfully American pre-Bush reality.

John Taylor

La Habra

Engel illuminates the many wars in Iraq really well. But what do we do with this information? Should we go or should we stay? Can we help stabilize the country by our presence or not? We need more guidance than this.

Roger Angle

Culver City

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