Ruminations on Iraq

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The two competing u.s. strategies as to Iraq—either withdrawal or "staying the course"—are flawed and destined for defeat ["What Now?" September 17].

 We cannot afford to withdraw and give huge victories to international terrorism and to a belligerent, nuclear Iran. However, we also cannot afford to suffer continuing high costs and losses by supporting a futile peace and an unsustainable Iraqi national reconciliation. Instead, the United States should base its long-term Iraq policy on a loyal, western-oriented, oil-rich Kurdistan and encourage a separation, rather than forced coexistence, between Iraq's antagonistic religious groups.

Ronald D. Weiss


St. James, N.Y.  

"What Now?" reported that "Great Britain will soon pull the last of its 5,500 troops out of the volatile southern region of Basra." What will happen to Basra when the British leave? Will American troops be rotated in? If not, what protection will the Iraqi people have from militia violence? The Basra region may become an interesting test case on what could happen to the whole of Iraq if we cut and run.

Bill Maxfield


Aitkin, Minn.  

"What Now?" stated that the ways and means of a new strategy in Iraq was the surge of troops and that the ends were to give the national government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki breathing room to bring his country together. I disagree. The ends of this strategy are to give the Bush administration breathing room to be able to continue "staying the course" until it can pass the problem of how to get out of Iraq over to the next president so that he or she may take the brickbats for losing Iraq.

Don Skillin


Indiana, Pa.