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Web Letter

Hello,The problem I have with the focus of the media, and maybe I have missed or forgotten The Nation's past coverage, has to do with the apparent media unwillingness or inability to raise the question re whether the proposed Iraqi Oil Distribution Law is adequately just toward the interests of the Iraqi people. If my perception to the effect that the proposed law directs 75 percent of the anticipated oil revenues toward the corporations, away from the non corporate sectors of the Iraqi people, then we, the US are fighting this war, not so much for democracy or peace or justice, but rather for the corporations' right to control substantive Iraqi vast oil reserve weatlth. This struggle, incorrectly labeled the war on terror, is also being used to justify the apparently indefinite suspension of habeas corpus, the right to have charges against oneself, if imprisoned, known to self and the public. Habeas corpus was also suspended during the Civil War, but it is not clear that the war itself is being continued in order to justify the continued suspension of habeas corpus.

David D. Schwartz

Somerville, MA

Jun 18 2007 - 1:55pm

Web Letter

To this day I cannot understand the level of debate in this country around the subject of the Iraq war. Anybody with half a brain and a basic understanding of history must have realized by now that Iraq was invaded for one primary reason: to stabilize the Middle East and protect the developed world's access to Iraqi and Saudi oil. All other rationales are mere fig leaves and should be seen as such.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia together are the largest source of oil in the entire world. This is a serious issue, because the single most important ingredient in world economic development is affordable energy. Compounding this fact is the perception that oil will become an increasingly scarce commodity, with enormous international political and security implications.

Once it became clear that US forces had to leave Saudi soil, long-term occupation of Iraq became an apparently unavoidable security imperative. The only thing wrong with this strategy is that it was imposed--both on the Iraqis and on the citizens of the US--in an entirely undemocratic fashion. Did anybody mention a fifty-year occupation before the invasion? No, instead, Mr. Cheney and his ilk had crafted a policy of disinformation which was swallowed hook line and sinker by almost everybody in this country--the Congress, the media and the public. The Iraqis, of course, were not asked at all if they wanted to be invaded. Mr. Cheney’s notions of what is best for our country and the world and how to achieve those goals reminded me very much of my grandmother, God rest her soul, who always knew what was best for her children and then proceeded to ram it down their throats (quite literally sometimes).

The lack of open debate about real Iraq policy pre-invasion stemmed more than likely from the fact that invading another country is not considered the right thing to do anymore, from the perception that the only international body with the authority to do so--the UN--would never sanction it, and from the undeniable fact that had the likely realities of the occupation been addressed it would have been political suicide to vote for the war. Should our real policy objectives and how to achieve them be subjected to public discussion? One could argue that historically they never have been. But with the number of casualties mounting and the war becoming increasingly unpopular, is it not time now for a more frank discussion?

The real debate should be centered on the merits of this strategy. This is the debate that has been so long missing, and the confounding question is why.

Ethan Boger

Cincinnati, OH

Jun 8 2007 - 4:46pm

Web Letter

No, Robert, it is "outlandish" that people like yourself viciously ridicule a President in a time of war who is advocating the most responsible geostrategic plan available in Iraq. It is "alarming" that people like yourself criticize the President's plan without offering any alternative other than a strategic, political, military and economic capitulation to radical Islam in Iraq with absolutely no regard for the real world risks and potentially devastating consequences of your plan that is grounded in nothing more than wishful thinking.

Your notion that the removal of US forces from Iraq would quell the resentments in the Middle East is beyond absurdity. It would have exactly the opposite effect because it would it would expose the USA as a political and military "Paper Tiger" that abandons its friends to their destruction and is unwilling to defend its most vital strategic interests. Your surrender plan would be trumpeted as a huge victory by radical Islam that would super-charge their recruiting, their fundraising and their determination to attack the Middle East oilfields and the American homeland.

You say, "The President, obviously clueless as to the widespread resentment in the region over a history of Western plunder of Mideast oil, seems determined to give the insurgents of every stripe their best recruiting poster. "

The truth is that you could not be more geostrategically clueless, and that your surrender would be viewed as the greatest triumph in Islam since Saladin, and it would produce the realities I listed above. There is no predictable limit to the upheaval that might occur in the Middle East if America surrenders in Iraq or to the economic catastrophe that would devastate America if we lose access to Middle East crude oil at fair prices. Your retreat strategy would offer our enemies the perfect opportunity to act on the resentments you describe if they existed.

You say, "Bush Administration officials cited protecting Iraq's borders, particularly with Iran, as the major task of a future American deployment. One could not conjure up a better prescription for embroiling this nation in an increasingly deadly quagmire."

How exactly does it make any sense to run from the challenge Iran poses and stick our heads in the sand while they add Iraq to their military alliance with Syria and position themselves to overrun the Middle East oilfields?

How does it make any sense to ignore the possibilty that tyrannical Russia might be highly motivated to support Iran's aggressive ambitions once we are gone?

Your Vietnam references could not be more irrelevent to our situation in Iraq. Vietnam never threatened the US homeland or America's access to the crude oil that is the life blood of the Western world. Your surrender "strategy" would.

It is "bizarre" that you accuse the administration of "staying the course" while they are advocating a new strategy of moving to a deterrent posture in Iraq that reduces American casualties while continuing to credibly protect America's vital access to crude oil, and positioning the US to keep a lid on Al Qaeda in Iraq. The reference to Korea sends a clear message to radical Islam that we are determined to defend our strategic interests for as long as it takes. If all Americans rallied around Bush's Korea theme it would deflate radical Islam, while yours only confims their belief that America is politically weak while bolstering their resolve.

You say, "To his credit, US Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was the only presidential candidate at the Democrats' debate to criticize the Korea analogy, warning: 'Keep in mind we've been there six decades in the Korean peninsula, and the best way for us to support the troops is that we are not continuing to try to impose a military solution on what is essentially a political problem in Iraq.'"

Barack's geostrategic naïveté is precisely why he is totally unqualified to be America's Commander in Chief. He mindlessly offers empty rhetoric to pander to his base voters while he advocates surrender as a national security strategy with no regard for the risks and consequences of his surrender posture. Until he articulates a serious national security strategy that credibly addresses those risks and consequences, no American should take him seriously.

You say, "Hear, hear. The alternative is the spectacle of helicopters eventually lifting a new generation of desperate refugees from the rooftops of Baghdad after many more American and Iraqi deaths."

Hear, hear. Your surrender alternative could realistically result in the destruction of the financial well-being of almost every American. Great plan!

The geostrategic bottom line on the Korea analogy is that America lost almost 60,000 soldiers and stayed in Korea for over 50 years to protect its strategic interests in the Pacific. America's strategic interests in the Middle East are far more vital than in Korea, and making the Korea analogy as a metaphor for America's long term determination is exactly the right thing message to send to Iran and radical Islam. There exists no credible argument to the contrary, so give it up and get on board with sending a message of determination to radical Islam before you help lead America to its destruction just to satisfy your personal rage against Bush.

Robert, if you have a political conscience, you really should seriously consider the true risks and consequences of capitulation in Iraq before you write anything else, and help put America's children in further jeopardy.

Don Skipper

Dallas, TX

Jun 8 2007 - 3:01pm

Web Letter

There has never been an occupation of South Korea. They had a government under President Syngman Rhee in 1948.

US forces in South Korea were very weak when the North Koreans invaded South Korea. We have remained in South Korea because they are under threat from North Korea. We stayed in Western Europe because it was under threat from the Soviet Union. The occupation, itself, was fairly brief.

In both cases, these countries wanted us there to help protect them. The younger generation in South Korea and America have no memory of the Korean War or its costs.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Jun 6 2007 - 4:04pm

Web Letter

The President has told some whoppers in his six and half years in office but I think the media and the people come to expect it now. There is no response, good or otherwise from a public that is numb to what he says and can't wait until January 20, 2009.

Bush told us not very long ago that it would be up to future presidents to decide when the troops would come home, now he wants us there for fifty years. It's a good thing we are building permanent bases the size of the Vatican so our troops will be comfortable in Iraq, since they will never see America again until they're ready to retire--if they are allowed to retire.

Comparing Iraq to Korea is ridiculous but the comparison only distracts from the real issue. Fifty freakin' years of Iraq!!!!! And who is going to pay for this? Bend over America, here it comes.

Just think, all we have to do is bring back the electric car and promote solar powered heat for our homes and we wouldn't need the Middle East at all.

Anyone listening?

Tom Pisano

Shirley, NY

Jun 6 2007 - 3:45pm