Re "Like Churchill, Bush needs a war cabinet," Opinion, Dec. 12
Mike Murphy states that Winston Churchill "knew that successful war-waging and partisanship cannot coexist." Murphy recommends that President Bush draw Democrats into the decision-making process.
Churchill did more than that. He and Franklin D. Roosevelt asked ordinary people to sacrifice during World War II, and people responded. The Iraq Study Group made this point, stating that the "success [of the recommendations] depends on the unity of the American people in a time of political polarization."
This is not Bush's method. He bought off people with tax cuts and made bullying statements like "You're either with us or against us." America's reputation and legacy have thus been spent. If Bush wants to save the situation, he must first win the support of the American people.
Murphy's advice to Bush is sound. Bipartisanship is needed to somehow eke out success from what is currently an unholy mess. There's only one problem: Bush will never reach across the aisle to foster real bipartisanship with the Democrats. In other words, Bush is no Bill Clinton.
Re "Bush gathers ideas on Iraq," Dec. 12
In my humble opinion, by establishing a minimal relationship with Iran, we could bring a profound change to its government's behavior. Talking to Iran would have a positive effect on its domestic politics, encouraging the large portion of Iranian society that seeks a liberal regime, moderate nuclear policy and normalization of relations with the West. We need to encourage its people and government to start changing by winning their hearts and minds, not by bombing them. Iran is a unique country in that part of the world, and its people need to be respected.
The preemption policy of this administration has brought us disastrous results. We should use our brains before acting and not make the mistakes we've made in the last six years.
MIKE LA BARCA