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What Dreyfuss's article makes most clear is that the work of peace and justice in Iraq is not ours to do.

In these United States, the self-flattering notion that all good outcomes flow exclusively from our good intentions still goes unchallenged in most of the corporate media. The current conventional wisdom seems to be that the occupation is at last "bearing fruits," with relative decreases in violence and signs of reconciliation demonstrating that we must "stay the course."

Not many mainstream journalists care to consider the possibility that the real reason for reduced violence may be that with Democrats controlling Congress and with a good chance that a Democrat will become our next President, many Iraqi insurgents have decided to bide their time and wait us out, trusting that we will leave soon if they are patient and stay calm. If this is what motivates them, then nothing could be more ruinous than for our next Chief Executive to prolong the occupation indefinitely. This might only inspire the Iraqi insurgents to get back to work inducing our troops to leave, by any bloody means necessary.

The disquieting number of independent Iraqi militias that Dreyfuss mentions does not inspire optimism, but the fact that these militias are trying to unite into a viable Iraqi national army that could effectively replace our troops is enough to keep us from despairing that we can choose only between either uniting the militias in their resentment of our military presence, or abandoning them all to civil war. Perhaps there is a third option, after all.

Eric Paul Jacobsen

Saint Paul, MN

Jan 18 2008 - 9:14am

Web Letter

Since the Arab states are talking to Iran, there is an off chance they may be helpful. However, we do need to leave., I don't see us sitting on American bases in Iraq for even a short time. Our people will increasingly become a target for both sides in any civil war. Iraqis need to settle their own differences.

Now there is talk of American troops going into Pakistan, which would open up a new can of worms. Operations there could stir up all kinds of nationalist feeling and reactions by many elements in society not associated with Al Qaeda or the Taliban. We still don't have the half million troops that were considered necessary for Iraq, and Pakistan has, at the very least, triple the population.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Jan 17 2008 - 3:59pm

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