Strongly pushing democracy in the Middle East could end up backfiring on the United States. Fundamentalist Islamists in a democratic election would handily win in many Islamic countries, which would be counter to U.S. interests. In fact, it could be a real nightmare, particularly in a country like Pakistan, where they would control nuclear weapons. At least with a monarchy or dictatorship the situation was more stable and constant and you knew who you were dealing with. In a democracy things could literally drastically change overnight. So the U.S. should be careful what it wishes for.
Kenneth L. Zimmerman
Re “Soldiers Describe Looting of Explosives,” Nov. 4: Before the election, President Bush suggested the missing explosives disappeared before the war. Not so, say unnamed (“fearing retaliation from the Pentagon”) soldiers who witnessed their removal and requested security help that was not given. Was that because the needed soldiers were occupied with guarding oil lines and refineries? Was the loss of oil of more concern than the loss of lives due to looted explosives?
Now that the election is over, the truth is beginning to ooze out about the theft of tons of explosives from the Al Qaqaa storage dump. Not to the surprise of anybody who remained conscious during the campaign, the administration lied about the circumstances and timing of the theft to blunt this piece of strong evidence of its incompetence in the Iraq operation. What was never denied or contradicted was that the U.N. inspection teams, at which this administration looked down its nose, noticed the danger and specifically warned us about it before the invasion. Yet we had a token force “guarding” this material, with predictably disastrous results.
I have been following the story of the looting of the ammunition dumps and together with the information gleaned while reading Gen. Tommy Franks’ book, I have come to the conclusion that we did not have enough troops there and that dumps like the one mentioned in your articles should simply have been blown up because they could not be guarded.
The fact that this was overlooked by the top brass has resulted in needless deaths of many U.S. soldiers. Cocky, inept Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and some of his cronies should be fired. Put Secretary of State Colin Powell in charge and get serious about security of the troops and the Iraqi people, and send in more troops and get it over!
Re “Metal Monster Ready to Rumble,” Nov. 3: The war in Iraq isn’t ending any time soon -- and there may be more wars to come. We have to prepare for those wars as sanely and efficiently as possible -- and that means reducing our reliance on nuclear arms. The U.S. currently has budgeted millions toward new nuclear weapons research -- yet the Rand Corp. has found that conventional weapons can replace nuclear weapons in almost all instances, and that we can wage war just as effectively with a lot fewer nuclear weapons than we have now.
If we must fight a war, let’s at least try to keep our nuclear arsenal to a minimum.