Re "U.S. Military Responding More Fiercely to Iraqi Guerrilla Strikes," Nov. 12: The U.S. military policy of destroying the homes of Iraqis suspected of participating in attacks on our troops is all too familiar. Instead of destroying the village to save it as in Vietnam, we are now bombing Iraqis' homes to save our soldiers. Israel's failure in its occupied lands using similar methods should be a lesson to us on what not to do.
Can we never learn from the past? Perhaps it is all one can expect from people who seem to believe that history is the last quarter and ancient history is last year.
Re "Terrorism Fight Not a 'Vietnam,' " Commentary, Nov. 11: I am incredulous at Bruce Herschensohn's parallel between the "war on terrorism" and World War II, for the Vietnam analogy is still far more apt. As the war in Vietnam was a stand against the boogeyman of "global communist domination," so too the current so-called war on terrorism is a battle against a new boogeyman thrown up by the Bush administration. This is not to deny that terrorism exists, but rather to say that we deceive ourselves if we think it can be eradicated by military means.
We are also in a state of self-delusion if we think we can defy local sentiment and simply plant freedom and democracy in Iraq. This proved a chimera in South Vietnam, and it is proving so in the Middle East. Freedom and democracy must emerge organically, inspired by example, not imposed by an iron fist.
UCLA Dept. of East Asian
Languages and Cultures
Re "In a Democracy, Liars Can Never Be Liberators," Commentary, Nov. 11: Bob Scheer's blind hatred of President Bush has become laughable. He rants about the injustices carried out by the United States in the past by supporting dictators. In the same column, apparently without recognizing the irony, he berates the president for removing a dictator. He constantly repeats his misinterpretation of the president's assertion that we must act before Saddam Hussein's threat becomes imminent as some sort of proof that "Bush lied."
There are plenty of things in the Bush administration to genuinely criticize, but Scheer's personal animosity has made him a ridiculous critic that the left should be embarrassed by.
I keep reading about all the wonderful progress we are providing to the people of Iraq, such as reopening schools, hospitals, restoring electricity and water some of the time, providing security. But I do not read or hear a single word on the resumption of production in their oil fields, as if that were not important. What gives?
How many of America's bravest do we have to lose before we look in the mirror and face reality? We've made a tragic mistake. We are not wanted. We need to go, and to pay to make things right. We've been down this road before. We shouldn't need to lose 50,000 more Americans in a meaningless quest for "peace with honor" before we find the courage to turn around.
Re "Arab World Recoils at Saudi Bombing," Nov 11: I noticed the absence of the usual theories that the bombing was an act of conspiracy by Zionists, or American imperialists. Perhaps the Arab world is finally beginning to realize that the terrorists it supported or ignored when others were being attacked can just as easily turn on their own supporters and fans, if that agenda suits them.
Bush is certainly right that terrorism must be addressed by all nations, not just those in the Western world.