An emotional conflict

Re "Before and after," Opinion, May 12

I only wish the chicken hawks who started this war would read Michael Hastings' testimonial about the survivors of the Iraq war. To the men who started the war, it's still an intellectual exercise. No one in their families has been killed or maimed for life.

One of the most telling quotes of George W. Bush's presidency came as he tried to convince us that he does share the nation's pain: "It's hard work in Iraq. I know. ... I read the casualty reports." Maybe someday he will have the courage to face the flesh-and-blood reality of what he did instead of numbers on a piece of paper.

John Wolfenden

Sherman Oaks

Haven't we determined that there are other issues besides the tragedies of those who serve that must be weighed when deciding the course of a war? Wouldn't it be refreshing for journalists to begin their articles with an acknowledgment that there are considerations beyond the horrors of battle -- such as the consequences of surrender, the morality of permitting injustices and the decisions of thousands of volunteers to find a patriotic purpose in fighting for their country?

These may be irrelevant issues for many of the Americans who report on our country's conflicts, but for some of the rest of us, they happen to be what America stands for.

Elliott Alhadeff

Laguna Woods

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