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President Bush should calculate the grim numbers of his war in Iraq

U.S. toll in Iraq at 4,000 | March 24, story

Calculating the grim numbers of war

In 1939, 21 years after the end of World War I, Dalton Trumbo published his horrific antiwar classic Johnny Got His Gun. Later that year, World War II began. In 1970, 25 years after the end of World War II, we are involved in Vietnam and Trumbo rereleased his book. The only change he made was an addition to the introduction titled "Addendum: 1970." He wrote:

"Numbers have dehumanized us. Over breakfast coffee we read of 40,000 American dead in Vietnam. Instead of vomiting, we reach for the toast. Our morning rush through crowded streets is not to cry murder but to hit that trough before somebody else gobbles our share.

"An equation: 40,000 dead young men = 3,000 tons of bone and flesh, 124,000 pounds of brain matter, 50,000 gallons of blood, 1,840,000 years of life that will never be lived, 100,000 children who will never be born (The last we can afford: there are too many starving children in the world already.)"

Thirty-eight years later, it is Iraq, March 24, 2008, and the newspaper says 4,000 American sons and daughters are dead there, with more to come. We tend to overlook the tens of thousands of soldiers wounded and many times that number of Iraqi civilians killed as Bush routs the "terrorist danger." Bush flaunts, Congress cowers, justice sits and our "free" press feeds us pabulum.

Decider-man, you work Trumbo's math and tell my neighbors and me, again, with a straight face, "the battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just" to stop the "violence and terror that could spread beyond Iraq's borders, with serious consequences for the world's economy."

Dave Plyer, Clearwater

Bush: Sacrifice worth it | March 25, story

The American way?

Referring to the 4,000 American military men and women killed in Iraq in the past five years, President Bush said that a victory there "will merit the sacrifice." That number doesn't include the countless thousands maimed or otherwise disabled in combat.

Unless I'm mistaken, our troops and those casualties and their families are the only Americans making any sacrifices in this war. Is that really the American way?

It has been five years and still counting, yet there is no end in sight and little indication when the Iraqis will — if ever — be able to take over their own country.

I'm proud of our troops and our country, but ashamed to have Bush as president.

Blll Donofrio, Spring Hill

U.S. toll in Iraq at 4,000 | March 24, story

A day of sorrow

How sad, ironic and symbolic that this benchmark was reached on Easter Sunday, the day the Christians celebrate Jesus' sacrifice for the sins of others. There are 4,000 brave men and women dead because of a few lies and for a few pockets full of gold.

Sadly, history does repeat itself.

Jim Santamour, St. Petersburg

U.S. toll in Iraq at 4,000 | March 24, story

Uncounted dead

In your article in Monday's paper you say that 4,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq. What you really mean is that 4,000 American military personnel have been killed.

What about the American contractors and journalists? Last time I looked more than 900 of them had been killed as well, making the true death toll more like 5,000.

Reed A. Blizzard, Largo

A war gone wrong

At the passing of the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, it's time that even the president's strongest supporters step back and take a good, hard look at the scope of this disaster.

The pretext for this war was weapons of mass destruction. Going in, the administration estimated the potential cost at $50-billion to $60-billion. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld predicted that it could last, "Six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

Now, more than five years later and with no WMD found, we've spent $600-billion and counting, 4,000 soldiers have died and approximately 60,000 have been wounded. Almost all of this happened after President Bush proudly paraded around the deck of an aircraft carrier in a flight suit and declared the end of major combat operations, and then later challenged the insurgency to "Bring 'em on."

If you're still a staunch supporter of the president and his actions in Iraq, I ask you this: How would you have reacted to all of this if Bill Clinton had been behind it? Be honest now.

Todd Hemphill, Trinity

When will it end?

When President Bush cavalierly mentions the Iraq war "will merit the sacrifice" and when the killing of 4,000 people is referred to as a "grim milestone," it seems more than our soldiers should bear.

When brain-damaged veterans have to also bear their wounds without any productive help, and when their families must be their only surrogate, what does this mean? And when we get a tax credit, while flying our flags and affixing a ribbon to our bumpers, what kind of patriotic Americans are we?

Columnist Mark Shields wants a draft for all. Perhaps when we comfortable "patriots" are forced to be a part of Bush's war, and we, and the children of our members of Congress are fighting and dying in Iraq, we will get mad enough to stop this. What is it going to take for all of us to say, "Let's stop this madness … let's stop this pain."

Lilyan Dayton, New Port Richey

A warrior's role

Adm. William Fallon, the commander of the Tampa-based U.S. Central Command, should have been fired and the president would have been completely justified in firing him instead of allowing the admiral to depart on his terms.

I for one am getting tired of seeing generals and admirals become diplomats instead of warriors. If they want to be diplomats they should have joined the State Department.

The Esquire article that led to Fallon's resignation describes a commander who did not perform the will of the commander in chief. The commander of Central Command's job is to execute the policy established by the commander in chief. That's the way it is supposed to be. Instead, the article describes Fallon as the one standing between the president and war — "The Good Cop."

The president isn't well served by a military commander acting as a good cop in this dangerous world of nutcase dictators. The military commander should be the vicious pit bull, tugging on his chain, baring his teeth that the president — during the conduct of his foreign policy — can point to and say don't make me let the war dog loose because if I do he will kill you!

Let's get rid of the admirals and generals who want to be diplomats and put warriors in charge of combatant commands.

Kent Ralston, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), Tampa

President Bush should calculate the grim numbers of his war in Iraq 03/25/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2008 1:43pm]
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