TUESDAY’S LETTERS: Tony Snow, Iraqi Deaths, United Nations

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, readers respond to issues about the Iraq war raised by Tony Snow, the number of Iraqi dead, and Bush’s reasons for going to war in that country.

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Justifications for the Iraq War

Quote from E&P story: “The question, however, remains: While it’s true that Bush always mentioned multiple reasons for the war, what did he really emphasize at the time?

What did he emphasize? Quite simple, really. With all the uproar of “get the int’l community’s approval” shaking the halls, the most logical reason to pursue for UN engagement was the 17 ignored Security Counsel resolutions, and drive it home with the world’s shared intel.

No one was sure if Saddam was keeping a shadow WMD program, or if he had WMDs. It was the single most common belief held by the international community, and one that would keep critics happy if all reached a consensus. Why not use that as the main, if not the only reason?

As we know by history, and are reminded daily with Iran and N. Korea, the UN may, on occasion, reach a consensus. But they don’t do whit about it. They’ve tabled Darfur since Danforth’s truce back in 2004, adeptly avoiding the genocide word. Rwanda and Bosnia are other examples of an impotent UN.

The UN is, for all intents and purposes, merely a corrupt, leaderless paper tiger that has been neutered by their own hesitance to be involved in any effectual way. That’s what happens when you continually bow, and back away, when subject to criticism. …

Terri Fiyalko
St. Helens, Ore.

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Bushies Just ‘Don’t Know’

Tony Snow’s assertion: ?I don’t know. How do you define ?winning?? in your Oct. 16 story, reminded me of another such statement by a Bush administration leader, Donald Rumsfeld.

Donald Rumsfeld, in Oct. 2003, when asked by the Associated Press about soaring Afghan opium production then responded: “You ask what we’re going to do and the answer is, ‘I don’t really know,'” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said recently.

Not knowing seems to be a chronic problem in the Bush administration. To be fair, the record opium crop in Afghanistan each year since his assertion of ignorance proves Rumsfeld was right in 2003 when he said, “I don’t really know.”

Pat Rogers
Allentown, Pa.

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Deaths in Iraq

Congratulations [Greg Mitchell] on another well-thought-out article about the Iraq mortality study published in the Lancet. As you might remember I wrote an email to your publication praising your last article, and I have continued to follow the topic in the media. I think you’re right that the issue has largely dropped from the consciousness of the media. But, in contrast to the 2004 study which was widely ignored, I’m now noticing that the 650,000 number is being cited when people talk about the cost of the war.

The final paragraphs of your article touch on a topic I’ve been thinking about lately. I think we’re seeing a cascade of public opinion on the Iraq war and the Bush administration. To elaborate, most people, to one extent or another, engage in group-think. They want to have similar opinions to those around them. Back in 2004, the group-think was that Iraq couldn’t be that bad, and was potentially salvageable as a situation the US had gotten itself into. I feel like in the last few months there’s been a rapid change in publicly expressed opinion. As people have internally decided that things are FUBAR, they’ve kept quiet for a time, but now they realize that “everyone” feels the same way. Suddenly it’s acceptable to say that Iraq is a fiasco and an unmitigated disaster, and to talk about what to do about it. If the democrats sweep the congressional races, this paradigm shift is what I’m going to attribute it to (if they don’t I’ll put on my tinfoil hat and talk about mind control and vote fraud–just kidding).

David Risher, MD

The relevant comparison is not to our Civil War but to the death toll under Saddam. Have more Iraqis died from violence since Bush invaded than they did under Saddam’s regime (not counting Iran-Iraq war)? That’s the relevant question. And if it’s 600,000, than Bush has been more dangerous and lethal to Iraqis than Saddam.

In essence, he’s liberated them from Saddam only to continued to liberate them from their lives but in far greater numbers. That is HUGE NEWS, yet no one in media is daring to even explore the issue.

Nor is anyone separating out how many Iraqi civilians, including innocent women and children, were blown to bits or maimed by U.S. bombing in initial invasion, and also in all the subsequent house-to-house raids and bombings..or checkpoint shootings, detention center murders, etc. bush now says the justification for attacking iraq was to save Iraqis from a brutal tyrant and provide them a healthier and safer option through U.S.-led regime change and occupation.

Paul Sperry


… If the criminals running this administration took as much interest in really making Iraq into a functioning democracy instead of some oil-rich suzerainty, they would invest their considerable energies expended in looting and covering their asses into rebuilding the country?s infrastructure beginning with the electrical grid and the country’s water supply in order to alleviate the needless deaths of the children.

But maybe the goal is to keep a high infant mortality rate in Iraq so that the United States at least has someone to be one up on in that area. It?s sad to see that George W. Bush has succeeded in doing to the U.S. what he did to the state of Texas: In more areas than ever before, the United States is falling behind other countries where it counts such as infant mortality, education, health care, quality of the environment, and openness of government.

Bush was speaking for the oligarchs on 1 May 2003: Mission Accomplished!

Matt Carmody
Cornwall, N.Y.

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