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Perplexing logic

January 16, 2007

Re "No winners in the Iraq war of words," Opinion, Jan. 12

The only way to understand Frank Luntz's puzzling commentary is to realize that he is guilty of the verbal tricks he apparently knows something about. Having rebuked President Bush for statements made in his speech to the nation Wednesday, Luntz then goes on to give him points for exactly the same hollow rhetoric, repeated endlessly, for which he criticized him.

Luntz gives Bush positive marks for the aggressive prosecution of the war on terror but ignores the possibility that the world may, indeed, be worse off as a result of that prosecution. And he applauds the president for "finally" making "a nod to the end to the conflict." What, then, was all that talk about "Mission Accomplished," "bring 'em on" and "as soon as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down"?

Luntz condemns the Democratic opposition for failing to use "words to unite and explain rather than divide and attack" (while not mentioning Republican opposition). Meanwhile, he ignores the fact that the deep divisions in the U.S. result not from Democrats' actions but from a disastrously failed foreign adventure and the administration's relentless policy of dividing and attacking.

JOHN CROWTHER

Los Angeles

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