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The unfolding story in Iraq

August 30, 2007

Re "Paging the U.N.," editorial, Aug. 26

Unfortunately, The Times' editorial about Iraq bases its criticism of administration policy on two flawed assumptions that undergird that self-same policy. First, that Muqtada Sadr, the leader of a Shiite faction, is a client of Iran and a firebrand cleric. Sadr has been demonized by the U.S. from the outset of the invasion, despite the fact that he is a nationalist leader whom we should have favored. (The neocons placed their bets on a rival cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who they mistakenly thought would support the American mission.)

Second, The Times reiterates the mistaken notion that Iraq needs "reconciliation," despite the fact that Iraq is a fictional state soldered together by the West. Finally, it is clear that no amount of military effort can create a democracy as we know it in Iraq. Our mission is to work with Iraq's neighbors to be sure that none attacks the three fledgling nation-states that have been gestating since the fall of the Ottoman Empire circa 1920.

Jean E. Rosenfeld

Pacific Palisades

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It isn't Washington but Democrats who think Iraqi sovereignty means everyone doing what Democrats want, the same definition they have for bipartisanship. As for the United Nations, it has never brought peace anywhere. It favors process over actual achievement -- see Korea, where the North fires shots at the South, and Kosovo, now about to blow up again.

Mary McLemore

Pike Road, Ala.

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All discussions in the news media seem to focus on the proclaimed mission of establishing security in Iraq. But using military force to establish security has nothing to do with the ultimate type of government that finally emerges in Iraq.

Do the American people realize that everything the Bush administration has done in Iraq has assisted the Shiites in seizing control of the government? The Shiites were the only sect that wanted democracy because they are the majority. If every elected government official is a Shiite fundamentalist, then the only type of government that can emerge is a Shiite theocracy. This is what the U.S. is producing in Iraq. This is the reality that Bush is evading.

Darrell Williams

Sherman Oaks

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