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And your idea isn't any better, Max

July 28, 2007

Re "Iraq isn't Vietnam, Henry," Opinion, July 22

Max Boot provides the perfect solution to our little problem in Iraq: Bring in more military, continue the "surge," no diplomacy and stay forever. This in lieu of what he considers the disastrous Henry Kissinger solution to our little problem in Vietnam, with an additional Korean lesson twist on the whole affair.

Regardless of the fact that the Korean peninsula had and continues to have a homogeneous society, as opposed to the myriad of factions represented in Iraq, Boot feels confident everybody will get along fine as we employ responsible "interlocutors" to smooth the way among warring Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Baathists and anybody else with an iron in the fire. And then everything will be fine, forever and ever.

Gene Olson


Boot takes a long time to say we should stay in Iraq just as we stayed in Korea, where President Eisenhower supposedly said we'd never leave and threatened nuclear war. Boot says we should pursue "democracy and stability" by remaining in Iraq until Iran and Syria "face the probability of defeat -- or at least stalemate." Because Iran and Syria -- he never mentions Saudi Arabia or Israel -- aren't leaving, I presume that means we will stay there forever and threaten to use nuclear weapons. That will make them come around to our point of view.

Dr. Strangelove, your place is ready at the negotiating table.

Steve Mattern


Boot fails to recognize there is already a "ruinous civil war" in Iraq and that Al Qaeda has no influence within the sectarian tribal culture there. Over-analyzing Kissinger's influence on the issue will not erase the fact that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is the defining foreign policy debacle of our time. Boot is right about one thing: Iraq is not Vietnam, but the two misadventures have a few things in common. We had no justification for invading either country and no justification to stay.

To Boot and others, admitting failure is not an option. The gravity of that failure is probably too much to bear for those responsible, considering the loss of life, daily violence and a destabilized, destroyed Iraq. Instead, they constantly search for a rationale in an attempt to justify a continuation of combat at the expense of others, who will do the fighting and the dying.

Mitch O'Farrell

Glassell Park

Iraq is not a "war," it's a horribly botched counterinsurgency. A counterinsurgency involves as little killing as possible and convincing a whole population that they are better off supporting the occupiers than the rebels. But the dissolution of the Iraqi army, the removal of Baathist administrators, the closure of state-run industries, giving reconstruction contracts to Americans and setting up permanent bases demonstrate that the U.S. is just another colonial power. U.S. forces are seen as occupiers and wanton killers, like Redcoats. The opportunity to settle affairs in Iraq was squandered within three months and is gone forever.

I challenge Boot to name one counterinsurgency operation in all of military history that has succeeded under these circumstances.

Raymond Freeman

Thousand Oaks

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