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American strength put to the test

September 14, 2007

Re "Superpower failure," Opinion, Sept. 9

David Rieff writes: "The war in Iraq has demonstrated the limits of even America's vaunted military strength." The only limits on America's military strength are the artificial constraints put on it to satisfy left-wing political demands here at home. Left to its own devices, the military most likely would have taken care of any problems in Iraq a long time ago. Outside of the use of nuclear weapons, politicians should keep their hands off military strategy. Motivated by an unrelated domestic political agenda, the current majority in Congress and the media have tied one hand behind the military's back to the benefit of our enemies. The left-wing liberal ideals promoted by these folks are at the top of the "sins of the West" list to be eliminated by our enemy.

Mark G. Mangie

Youngstown, Ohio

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America is a superpower of a different nature than imperial Rome, Britain or Spain. We have the power to change our direction every four years. We are the ones that gave back the Philippines and the Panama Canal without a shot being fired. The world looked at the U.S. as being fair, and didn't mind our world leadership. However, today the U.S. has a policy of preemptively striking. How can any other nation feel safe if that is our stated policy? Unlike imperial societies of the past, we have the power to elect new leaders to deal fairly, and learn from our mistakes.

Bernard Bregman

Northridge

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Rieff's thesis deserves to be carefully digested by the American public.

The only two things he leaves out or does not emphasize sufficiently and that deserve close attention are:

* Although American military power will continue to reign unchallenged for decades to come because of the technical elevations that a super-economy has afforded it, the challenge to American hegemony will come from guerrilla warfare that has humbled other superpowers in the past. Rebels cannot be defeated by stealth bombers and nuclear-tipped missiles.

* The American economy is vulnerable. The enormity of the U.S. national debt and the continued deficit financing of administrations like the current one are bound to bring the giant to its knees, sooner rather than later.

Usama Al-Azm

Safat, Kuwait

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