Europeans get Iraq


Re “U.S. calls Iraq the priority,” Dec. 12

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have occasionally said and done sensible things, but when push comes to shove, they end up paying homage to the neoconservative myth that Iraq is more important than Afghanistan.

To say that lukewarm support in Europe for the NATO efforts in Afghanistan is due to a “lack of understanding in Europe ... of what we are trying to accomplish” seems wrong. Europeans understand they are being asked to keep us from losing two wars because of our misguided efforts in Iraq. Perhaps Gates expects the Europeans to believe that we have turned the corner in Iraq. History will judge whether the situation is only temporary. Regardless, let’s quit Iraq while we’re ahead. Let’s send Army Gen. David H. Petraeus to Afghanistan, where his ideas have a chance of being successful. We can leave the Sunnis in Iraq in a position to defend themselves against genocide in the civil war that is inevitable whenever we get out.

Donald S. Burnett