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Face the obvious

January 20, 2007

Re "No better idea," Opinion, Jan. 17

Perhaps the silliest part of Max Boot's ridiculous argument is that he thinks the president's new strategy in Iraq is either new or a strategy at all. We have previously had more troops in the country than the surge will put there this year. Simply overstretching our armed forces will do nothing to help the situation as long as we keep ignoring the fact that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has no legitimacy or power with its own people.

DANIEL RAUL NAVAR

Berkeley

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It is shocking that a man with a degree in history has no concept of it. Boot has, as has President Bush, failed to see Iraq as anything other than a classic win/lose war scenario. Troop levels have fluctuated since the beginning. How many more years of trial and error will be required before we discover the magic number of troops required? Any Mideast scholar will quickly point out that our invasion of Iraq has destabilized the region beyond the consequences any departure of ours would now create.

To say that we, or ideally Iraq's own security forces, would be able to quell sectarian violence has more to do with the viability of the new Iraqi government than it does with our presence.

Iraq's three ethnic territories were cobbled together after World War I and held together by force. The area is fissiparous by nature. Any thoughts that our efforts could correct thousands of years of division is ridiculous.

The prospects of a government surviving with an adequate degree of support from Shiite and Sunni is unlikely. Similarly, any foreign policy that has as its fundamental philosophy a black-and-white view of world conflict is destined to fail. The administration made a colossal blunder by invading Iraq, and now those who were opposed are expected to make lemonade out of it.

JOHN BRODEY

Sherman Oaks

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Boot manages to spend his entire column working around the obvious truth: We are not winning in Iraq and 21,500 troops will not make any difference. We can't control gang violence in our own cities, so how can we expect to in a country far away with a far different culture? Boot asks the Republican question: Does anyone have a better idea? This administration lied to get us into a needless war. The better idea is to tell the truth and end the needless war now.

DEAN CHANTILES

Palm Springs

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