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Mistrust of a 'surge' in Iraq

January 09, 2007

Re "Bush aides lay groundwork for Iraq surge," Jan. 7

An increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will not fundamentally alter the deteriorating situation. The United States cannot force Iraqis to trust their government.

The most we can do is work toward making Iraq's government trustworthy. In a country accustomed to official brutality, getting people to trust the government is a challenging task. But in the long run, nothing else will bring the peace, security and fairness for which everyone hopes.

STEFEN MALONE

West Hollywood

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Make no mistake about it: "Surge" is merely a fuzzy way of saying "troop increase" or "military buildup." The effect of a troop surge, especially in the absence of a cogent military plan, will be more U.S. troops in harm's way. Let's not forget that at one point we had 500,000 troops in Vietnam, and we all know how that turned out.

President Bush needs to find a way out of the mess he created in Iraq without throwing more troops into the fire; calling the use of more troops a "surge" doesn't change a thing.

STEVE FISHER

Burbank

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The Times reports a "growing unease about an extended buildup among some congressional Republicans, who are concerned that it could stretch into the 2008 election season and doom their reelection chances."

It is not the young men and women who will die or be critically injured during that period. It is not the families of these young men and women who will spend each hour in fear for their loved ones. It is not the dreadful costs that are deflected from meeting the needs of the nation and its people. It is not the continuation of a failed war and the thousands of Iraqis who will die.

No. It's the 2008 election. What has become of us?

HARRIET GLICKMAN

Sherman Oaks

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I was opposed to the Iraq war before it started. Once we went in, however, things changed. I am of the opinion that because we broke it, we need to fix it. We have destabilized the region. We will need to put in more blood, money and effort to salvage the situation. The alternative of pulling back and just letting the Iraqis kill each other will create a far worse mess than we have now.

Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus has had great success in Iraq. As Gen. George W. Casey Jr.'s replacement, he is being given the right mission to stop the sectarian violence and calm Baghdad. Petraeus is the best person to salvage a positive and honorable outcome.

The report developed by analyst Frederick Kagan and Army Gen. Jack Keane is correct that a troop surge should last at least 18 months. It probably will take longer, but it must be done.

JONATHAN HUBBELL

Laguna Niguel

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Someone needs to arrange an intervention to help break Bush's addiction to war and then get him into a 12-step program. If he won't listen to the American people, who clearly expressed their desire for a withdrawal from Iraq in the midterm elections, perhaps George Will and Oliver North -- who have come out against a so-called surge (also known as an escalation of the war) -- can get through to him.

Oh, sure, he'll be hurt and angry at first. But eventually, he'll thank them.

J.G. BERINSTEIN

Northridge

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