TBogg

Fairly unbalanced

The policy of the local San Diego Union-Tribune is to publish letters in such a manner that they reflect the balance of opinions on a given subject. If that is true, the Steely-Eyed Rocketman is plummeting to Earth and burning up on re-entry.

Readers unimpressed by Bush policy, speech
If our president must stage his press conferences, such as Tuesday’s at Fort Bragg, N.C., why not speak from Walter Reed or a Naval hospital surrounded by our wounded heroes? When he speaks of staying the course, saying that “we have a clear path forward,” I am left wondering where that path will lead.

We need an expedited exit strategy from Iraq as well as a long-term plan for supporting our wounded and the families of those who lost loved ones in this war. President Bush projects a physical discomfort when speaking as if the words ring hollow to his own ears. Let us hope the message gets through soon.

MARCIA BRADLEY
San Diego

The president called for continued sacrifice and public support for the war. He did not specify what sacrifices the American public should make. The current sacrifices are limited to a small part of the population – those in the armed services and their families – and the president continues to bask in the reflection of their patriotism. For the rest of the population, the deal seems to be, “You cheer them on, and it won’t cost you anything.”

I would think the American public should at least be willing to pay for the war, say through a temporary 5 percent surcharge added to current annual income taxes, earmarked specifically for the war effort (exempt military families from this). If not, we are asking the young people fighting to sacrifice twice: fighting the war now and paying for it in future years.

The president also should consider reinstating the draft. We know the Army and Marines have had trouble meeting their recruiting goals, and the National Guard and Reserves are stretched beyond reasonable limits. The result of initiating the Iraq war with an insufficient force has been to weaken our power and destroy our credibility in the rest of the world. We are talking tough to various countries, but they can see that, outside of our air power, we do not have the troops to back up our words. A draft would not only counter this problem, but also provide for more shared sacrifice.

If all of this seems like too great a burden, think of the sacrifices we are asking the Iraqis to make. They are dying at a rate 10 times higher than our forces, much of their country has been destroyed, many are without reliable electricity, air conditioning and drinking water. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other officials have recently said we cannot win this insurgent war; it is up to the Iraqis. They are probably right. The people there will have to decide if the chaos and killing they are enduring is a better life than what they had prior to our arrival.

PETER COMSTOCK
San Diego

All of them are like this…

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....