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The U.S. presence in Iraq

August 09, 2009

Re "The right time to go," Opinion, Aug. 4

Barbara F. Walter says the U.S. will need to keep a significant number of troops in Iraq beyond the 2011 withdrawal date established by the Bush administration. I think U.S. troops will maintain their presence, but not for the reasons Walter suggests.

I have always believed the purpose of the invasion was to control the oil fields for the benefit of Western oil companies and to maintain a U.S. military foothold in the region. The massive U.S. Embassy and the huge U.S. military bases with first-run movie theaters, gyms and restaurants were built to last a long time. I think U.S. troops will continue to occupy Iraq in 2050. I predict that Prime Minister Nouri Maliki will eventually request that U.S. troops remain, and President Obama will oblige.

Jerry Wallingford

San Diego

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Walter writes that studies of civil wars in many countries reveal that the presence of U.S. troops may be crucial to peace. If it's a civil war, why do we have troops there? Almost by definition, the only people fighting in a civil war are residents of the country; outsiders make it an international war.

P.J. Evans

Chatsworth

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