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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Middle East affairs

A broken promise

I must say I am glad President Obama is taking some steps toward bringing our troops home from Iraq, but I am disheartened by his decision to push withdrawal back to August 2010 and leave up to 50,000 residual troops in the area until December 2011.

This marks a broken promise to the American people, who want our troops home now.

An estimated 1 million Iraqis and 4,253 American troops and have already died in this unnecessary war.

A recent article in The New York Times spoke of the brutal reality of Iraqi war widows:

“As the war has ground on,” the article states, “government and social-service organizations say the women’s needs have come to exceed available help, posing a threat to the stability of the country’s tenuous social structures.”

Our money should go toward helping Iraqis rebuild their shattered lives, not toward maintaining U.S. bases and military operations.

I call on Obama and his administration to immediately withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq, as well as contractors and mercenary forces.

The U.S. government should increase efforts in diplomacy, humanitarian aid and refugee resettlement, instead. Continued troop presence will only encourage more armed opposition within Iraq and will not force the Iraqi government and Iraqi factions to negotiate power.

In addition, with the continued presence of U.S. troops, the international community will doubt U.S. commitment to withdrawal and will wait to invest in diplomacy and reconstruction efforts.

— Gabriel Lavalle, Lynnwood

Time to preserve our pennies at home, reduce our pennies abroad

At a time when we need every penny at home, our involvement with Afghanistan grows deeper every day, and apparently we do not have a clear objective for such occupation.

If our objective is to prop up the corrupt Karzai government, we will have to stay there endlessly.

If we are there to stop opium production, we first need to get rid of the ruling warlords who are the main cultivators of opium.

If we want to get rid of terrorism, we have to discourage Israel from continuing the occupation of Palestine.

The claim that the surge has worked in Iraq is highly doubtful. This is why President Obama plans to retain 30,000 to 50,000 troops, in order to intervene if an undesirable situation develops.

History has shown that occupation of Afghanistan has never produced the desired goals of the occupier. The best strategy for Afghanistan is to end the occupation and let the internal forces reach an equilibrium.

Based on such an outcome, we can devise a realistic strategy.

— Ali Karimli, Kirkland

Comments | More in Afghanistan, Iraq war, Middle East

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