The Nov. 15 article Clinton, Blair offer views to Iraq group reported that Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "Western strategy in the Middle East must 'evolve,' possibly to include a 'partnership' with Iran."
After returning from a recent two-week tour in Iran with Global Volunteers, I wholeheartedly endorse this view. Our group of 13 Americans came back with the strong impression of the Iranians' friendship toward Americans. From two victims of chemical warfare with Iraq (when our country supported Saddam Hussein financially and in other ways) to two ayatollahs in two different cities, to university students we met on the street or in public buildings, we felt a strong sense of friendship toward Americans.
The more fluent and/or sophisticated among them distinguished between the Bush administration and ordinary Americans. A few of them expressed the hope that the Democrats would do well in the upcoming election so there would be a more favorable atmosphere in Washington.
Finally, in Tehran, we visited a boys' public school where the principal and a math teacher explained at length their positive philosophy of teaching. Before we left, they presented each of us with a touching plaque. One sentence read: "The message of all Iranian Muslims for all people of the world and specially American citizens is the message of peace and friendship based on justice."
Edward L. Mooney, St. Petersburg
A too negative media
Why does it seem that the U.S. media paint the Iraq war as a total blunder and that we are getting our pride handed to us? This stands in stark contrast to the e-mails that we receive from our customers and friends who are on the ground in and around Iraq. The statements from these troops paint an entirely different picture of the "actual war," not the "media war."
I am getting more and more despondent at the fact that none of the broadcast media spends enough time on the positive things our troops are doing. The "common Iraqi" appreciates and understands the sacrifice our troops have made by coming to the defense of people who haven't tasted freedom in a very long time.
If you want to know what is really wrong with the United States, look real hard at the media and the way that the "rich hierarchy" dictates how a story will be covered to serve not only their financial needs but their political ones as well.
Robert Burke, Seminole
The ego impediment
In reference to the apparent failing of our aspirations in Iraq, Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei summed it up by saying, "The occupation of Iraq is not a morsel that the U.S. can swallow."
Sadly, it seems that Khamenei is seeing the situation the way it so obviously is.
President Bush is showing all the signs of being a thrashing, flailing failure as he drowns in the sea of war and military operations. What's worse is that his inflated ego does not allow for the acceptance of any lifelines being tossed his way.
Like it or not, Bush should at least have a dialogue with Iran in order to show some willingness to acknowledge the needs and concerns of the Iraqi people. It is apparent that this whole Iraqi business was all about Bush and Dick Cheney and their special interests.
Now for President Bush, his "war without cause" and its outcome are tied to Bush's precious, failing image and his enormous ego needs. The man is clueless as to a solution for his mess in Iraq and he's too pompous to admit failure.
President Bush should go ahead and at least speak with Iran. Sometimes you have to communicate with others, even perceived foes.
Anne Marie Jorgensen, St. Petersburg
Iraq's persistent mess, letter Nov. 27
I understand the frustration that many Americans feel concerning the ongoing conflict in Iraq. I can even agree to a certain extent that poor planning for postwar Iraq has led to more upheaval than necessary. What I can't abide is liberals perpetuating the myth that President Bush led us to war in Iraq knowing that no weapons of mass destruction existed.
I would remind the author of the letter mentioned above that two separate committees have investigated prewar intelligence and both found that President Bush acted in good faith when he went before the American people. They also found no evidence of any sort that the CIA was "pressured" by the Bush-Cheney team to come up with the desired result on weapons of mass destruction. Liberal accusations concerning these issues have never held water and are reprehensible.
The letter writer apologizes to the "young men and women who were sent to Iraq against their will." I would remind your readers that the wonderful men and women who serve our country do so out of sheer patriotism and are willing go where the commander in chief needs them to be. There's no "against their will" involved.
No one can claim to support the troops and not want their mission to be successful. I would urge the letter writer to join a military support group and give something back to those who are doing our heavy lifting. Attacking the president serves no purpose but to satisfy the liberal urge to "Bush bash."
Jay Johnson, St. Petersburg
A home front divided | Nov. 28
Where's all-out effort?
These writings noted the United States created a war machine to help win World War II. I remember clearly defense plants, part of that war machine, working around the clock, three shifts a day, seven days a week, month after month.
Given the difficulties our fighting troops face in Iraq, it seems reasonable to expect a similar effort to support them now. On two occasions I contacted the office of Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite and asked if the companies making or repairing combat vehicles for use in Iraq are working around the clock. If not, why not? I was unable to get a yes-or-no answer.
As I see it, there should be no need for a question such as mine. It's a disgrace if our country is not doing everything possible for our men and women in the service.
Bill Donofrio, Spring Hill
A home front divided
A united view
I was highly impressed with the content of this opinion page. The only problem I have with it is the headline. It seems to me the 13 prominent authors all have basically the same point of view, that view being we should never have launched an attack against Iraq.
It has harmed us greatly in the rest of the world. This administration has botched the war so badly it will be a long time, if ever, before we recover.
Jim Lyman, Lutz