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Lessons of another lost war

June 17, 2007

Re "Post-traumatic Iraq syndrome," Opinion, June 12

Christopher J. Fettweis rightly points out fundamental questions regarding the role of U.S. power in international affairs. I would like to point out even more traumatic questions: specifically, how was this unwinnable war initiated in the first place? Why was the public not informed of what many knowledgeable people thought would be the likely costs in money and lives? Many, if not most, unbiased foreign policy experts regarded this Iraq war as a blunder from the beginning. Yet major social and government institutions either actively or passively supported it.

Was the public failed by the media, intelligence services, military and both political parties? And if we were, what do the American people need to do about it? Where were the checks and balances that are the foundation of our democracy? These are very traumatic issues indeed. However, if we do not have the courage to ask these questions, then this war will truly have been fought in vain.

DOUG WALKER

Ventura

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There is one simple thing that would have prevented Vietnam and Iraq: a declaration of war. When we have one, we don't lose. When we don't, it's a coin toss.

It is this simple: 300 million people and 535 members of Congress are smarter about war than one man in the White House, who will live a wonderful life regardless of how stupid his decisions are. Do you honestly think Congress would have voted for a declaration of war against Iraq? If the Democrats want to pass meaningful legislation, forbid American armed forces from being sent into combat without a declaration of war.

PETE ALBERINI

La Mirada

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I certainly agree with Fettweis that the Iraq war is lost. The way forward now is to hold accountable those responsible for the catastrophe, from the president on down. Only by documenting the outright lies that got us into this quagmire can we hope to avoid such tragedies in the future.

Let the hearings begin.

ROB ROBERTSON

Paducah, Ky.

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