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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 3, 2008 at 4:51 PM

An exit strategy for Iraq

They’re still there

It was good news to read that the number of humans killed in the Iraq war decreased in the month of October. Whatever the cause of this decrease, I think we can all agree that fewer people suffering from violent deaths is a good thing.

I just wish the author had made an attempt to share with the readers the sheer scope of civilian deaths since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 [“US deaths in Iraq plunge to wartime low in October,” Nation and World, Oct. 31].

It is hard enough for those of us who live safely in this country, far away from the daily reality of war, to imagine the impact of our government’s war on the women, men and children of Iraq.

More than 4,000 members of the U.S. military have died during the Iraq war. The Iraqi Health Ministry estimates that 151,000 Iraqi civilians have also died in war-related violence. Other estimates put the number as high as 600,000 to more than 1 million.

I can’t help but wonder why we never hear about these numbers. Perhaps the reality would be too much for us to bear?

— Susan Francois, Bellevue

Let’s liberate, not subjugate

The long-enduring debate about the pros and cons of a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq has been substantively settled by discussions with the Iraqi government. Details remain to be settled, but the bottom line is clear: the Iraqi government itself wants the American presence ended by sometime in 2011.

This development completely cuts the legs from under Sen. John McCain’s argument that a certain date for withdrawal would be counterproductive.

Now the only question remaining is, does the U.S. respect Iraqi sovereignty or does it not? If it does, then we should respect the Iraqi government’s own determination about setting a date, even if we disagree with it. If not, then from this point on, the moral arguments for our presence there are vitiated, and we are indeed just what most of the Iraqi public believe we are: conquerors out to subjugate, not friends out to liberate.

— James Cowles, Kent

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