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Justifying the unjustifiable

September 14, 2007

Re "The myth of 'blowback,' " Opinion, Sept. 11

The blowback that Jonah Goldberg says was created by the Russians after they gave up the war in Afghanistan was actually caused by the U.S. backing of the Taliban in order to kick the Russians out of Afghanistan. And when that was done, Americans left Afghanistan, creating a power vacuum that terrorists eventually filled. Most honest analysts agree we should have helped the country find its bearings. Now, even after a second invasion of Afghanistan, we must admit that war and occupation have failed to create peace and prosperity. Warlords are back in control, save for the puppet government in Kabul. The country has moved to a more rigid Islamic fundamentalism, which has served to usurp freedoms we took credit for creating. And Afghanistan is now the world's largest exporter of heroin-grade opium. And please don't forget one glaring fact: There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before 9/11. We created that golden opportunity. Who will Goldberg lay that boondoggle on, the Iranians?

John Bray

Wilmington

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It was fascinating to read Goldberg's latest apologia of the administration's position on Iraq. He essentially made his case by comparing the U.S. with the Soviet Union. The lengths the right will go to in order to justify the unjustifiable amaze me. Bush's whole case in Iraq is purportedly built on the need for democratization in the region. The Soviet Union's goal in Afghanistan was clearly imperialistic. So to compare our possible defeat in Iraq with the Soviet retreat in Afghanistan is essentially to buy into the far-left argument that the U.S. is not interested in democracy but is just another imperialistic power. I guess when all the reasonable arguments for staying in Iraq are exhausted, resorting to accusing us of imperialism will have to do. The problem with this argument is that it might be too much for even the most die-hard conservatives to swallow.

Peter Calvet

Bristol, R.I.

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