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Web Letter

Memo to Barack Obama: read Hayden article, read Scheuer.

If Obama wins, he should do a Bush-like PR stunt and announce that "major combat operations have ceased" in this idiotic "War on Terror," but then follow through--get all American troops out of the Arab and Muslim world, where they are a major cause of instability and hostility towards us. I know it won't happen, but this would be the greatest single thing he could do to make this country safer.

Daniel Beaumont

Rochester, NY

Jul 19 2008 - 12:24pm

Web Letter

Thank God, Allah, Buddha, for people like Mr. Hayden. we have been in Afghanistan and Iraq for six years and we still don't have any meaningful coverage by the media of either country. The foreign press seems to tell us that we have turned Iraq into a parking lot and created several centuries worth of hate and, like Rev. Wright says, "not a peep."

Mr. Hayden was born in 1939, I was born in 1938. We seem to have the same perspective on reality. I wonder if that is a product of our age and life experiences.

When did the Fourth Estate die?

Are the Iraqis as forgiving as the Vietnamese?

Thank you, Tom Hayden.

James Pinette

Caribou, ME

Jul 18 2008 - 10:19am

Web Letter

I am thrilled to read such a well-researched and clearly presented article by Mr. Hayden. What a difference after reading the latest editorial in the New York Times, titled "Talking Sense on Iraq" but not talking sense about Afghanistan and Pakistan. Basically it states that if we withdraw from Iraq, then we can turn our sights to these countries in order to secure ourselves against further terrorism. The reasons for this are similar for going into Iraq and will end in the same dire consequences. Mr. Hayden, you have clearly given us an in-depth picture of the difficulties of getting involved in another war scenario in Afghanistan.

Here in Canada, the people are becoming more and more concerned with the increasing casualties of Canadian troops in Afghanistan and are turning against the war. Two major parties, the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party, are trying to influence Conservative Prime Minister Harper to withdraw from the conflict, and it may force an eventual election as a result.

Thank you for your fine article. It is much appreciated.

US citizen and registered Democrat,

Pearl Volkov

Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Jul 17 2008 - 3:40am

Web Letter

I was just a kid of 17, but I was in the midst of the blood and tear gas on Michigan Avenue in Chicago in 1968. I am saddened by Hayden's compromised positions, but I know it's tough to figure out where to go.

I was on the California State Central Committee of the California Green Party from 2004-2006. Trust me, it's a disaster. If you knew what a confused twisted mess of personality conflicts between mental midgets that whole mess is people, those of you who are putting your faith in the Greens would realize that they are at least as big a disaster as the Democrats and are a million times as hopeless.

I was in the tribal areas of Pakistan last summer when all the headlines of the Pakistani newspapers blared that "Obama Says Will Bomb Pakistan." I don't care what he actually said, that's what the papers there reported.

There is such a thing as a place that is geographically impossible to dominate militarily. The big mountains of Asia that constitute the homeland of the Pashtun are such a place, and it is too bad that American political leaders and their advisers are too ignorant to understand that.

Obama needs to read some non-fiction books about the various Western misadventures and explorations through Afghanistan over the centuries. That happened to be a particular interest of my father, so the library at home contains (and still does) many titles like Travels In Afghanistan, a report by a geologist from Standard Oil on his treks through tribal Afghanistan. While the places he visited were incredibly remote, he did not dare even attempt to go through the Pahstun areas like Nuristan.

It is abominable and absurd that our young people are there dying, as nine did yesterday, attempting to secure a pipeline route that was planned by UNOCAL. It will never happen through military force.

We need to put pressure on Obama and the Congress to realize that what we need to do is to focus our resources at home on alternative energy and transportation conversion. It is in those two things that actual security and peace lie, not in a foolish attempt to occupy areas that are impossible to control because of their very geography.

Paul Fretheim

Inyo County Democratic Party Central Committee<br>Independence, CA

Jul 16 2008 - 10:10pm

Web Letter

I was against the Iraq War before it started. However, I do not put Afghanistan in the same category as Iraq. The Afghan war was a response to 9/11, and not a pre-emptive war. While no war is a good war, it may be a necessary war. Pearl Harbor is the first news event I can remember, and I expected the same response to 9/11 as that event. After Pearl Harbor, we responded as a country to defeat a country that attacked us. Wealthy people volunteered to serve this country for a dollar a year. In this war, we went into debt with China so they can have a tax break. With reference to air power, the people who ran Boeing and other aircraft companies were still pioneers of aviation. These companies are now run by corporate idiots who worry more about cutting labor costs, and could care less about the quality their product. Looking at our prospective leaders, I don't see a Roosevelt or a Churchill. It may be a necessary war, but I doubt that they have the intelligence to direct it.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Jul 16 2008 - 2:30pm

Web Letter

Tom Hayden neglects to confront the fundamental question of permanent US bases in Iraq, which many of us consider the strategic objective of the invasion and occupation. Both Bush and Obama claim they oppose "permanent" bases but no one challenges what they mean by that or to explain how, in their absence, the US can depend on a friendly regime to assure its control of Iraqi oil.

So what about those vaugely defined "residual forces" Obama would leave behind to, as he put it,"protect American service members"--that is, themselves? Hayden rightly finds that those 50,000 or so troops "would be protecting a sectarian political regime that is linked to death squads, militias and a detention system now holding 50,000 Iraqis in violation of human rights standards".

But our regime doesn't have to be friendly toward the Iraqi people--just the United States.

Michael Munk

Portland, OR

Jul 16 2008 - 4:03am

Web Letter

Much will depend on how social and economic development is wound into the formative society. There is no reason to expect either miracles or disasters in either front of the Global War on Terror.

But, for the Democrats, projections of plans to defeat the Taliban/A lQaeda are one of the sbsolutely necessary basics for winning this election. There is no way around the party's proper responsibilities.

The only way around it is a strong third party, which it is getting to be too late to organize.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Jul 16 2008 - 2:15am

Web Letter

According to today's Rasmussen, we Dems are not putting forth our strongest candidate... not a surprise to all of us.

Karen Wizevich

West Hartford, CT

Jul 15 2008 - 8:16pm

Web Letter

Tom Haden's assessment of the probable ultimate futility of continuing the war in Afghanistan is spot on. I wish to implore all who read the piece to take up or turn up the burner on the torch to bring the light of truth to this foul war in Afghanistan. Obama obviously is either beating the drum of escalation to win more of the hawk votes or he is misinformed. No doubt it is the former. However, it is up to we known as the "far left" to hang to the bleeding edge of truth. We all need to really push this issue and demand an explanation of the two candidates' proposed strategies, and then we continue digging into these illusionary precepts to expose the impossibility of their being realized. Hopefully, Obama will then begin a slow slide toward reality after he takes office. For the time being we must, however, continue to raise the consciousness within Middle America about the impossibility of winning, defined by any measure.

Joe H. McFatter Jr.

Austin, TX

Jul 15 2008 - 8:11pm