Has U.S. News Hit the Mark?

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How remarkable, refreshing and unexpected it was to read in Brian Kelly's Editor's Note on Iraq's surge that our beleaguered president may have been right all along ["Journalism Critics Wanted," August 18-25].

Better still that President Bush "had the fortitude to execute one very tough call, and so far the country's better off for it." The column reeks of character and somewhat restores my faith in journalism at the Washington D.C. level.

Anne Dunning


St. Louis Overall, I think the journalism you offer is fair. But when it comes to George W. Bush, I feel you have haven't been hard (or fair) enough. His years as president will go down in the history books as the most corrupt eight years in presidential history. Iraq, Halliburton, the Valerie Plame case, Alberto Gonzalez, the firing of the judges, Iraq's reconstructions costs, Enron, record oil profits, Jack Abramoff, record government spending and earmarks that have devalued the dollar. I could go on forever! Rather than looking at the macro picture of the Bush administration, your journalism missed the boat by looking at the micro issues.

Steve Berry


Via E-mail In response to your question about George W. Bush: "Is he Resolute—or Delusional?" I would have to say he is neither. He's just a very slow learner. By increasing military manpower in Iraq, he was finally doing what his military advisors had recommended, well before he invaded Iraq. Remember General Shinseki, who was forced to resign because he stuck to his guns about the urgent need for more military manpower, in order to maintain peace in Iraq? It took several years, but "W" finally realized the wisdom of that advice. (You can't say he never learns.)

Robert F. Petrie


Clinton , N.Y. It is worth remembering that the Iraq Study Group recommended a measured disengagement which was widely seen as "cover" for this president to get out of a very bad situation. Instead, as we all know, he called for a "surge" to wrest "victory," whatever that term may mean, from this conflict. Now whether that action shows his resoluteness or stubbornness is for others to judge with the passage of time and more information than is currently available. What it reminds me of is a failure of President Lyndon Johnson to withdraw from the Vietnam war despite the absence of any light at the end of the tunnel. What made his decision even worse is that we have learned that both he and then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara came to realize that the war was not winnable. Apparently, President Johnson's desire not to be the "first president to ever lose a war" overcame any predisposition not to waste any more lives in what had become a fruitless conflict. This is not to say that President Bush's decision was similarly based, but if this were the case, it is to assert he was not the first to leave it to his successor to do what he could not bring himself to admit: he had made an initial terrible decision which he would not try to undo.

Russell T. Sheldon


Williamsburg , Va. It is reassuring that someone in the media has the honesty to admit that the president "had the fortitude to execute one very tough call" and was correct in his judgment. The radical anti-Bush left which pervades the media won't admit anything he says or does could be right. Your commentary notes that Bush's approval rating is very low and "his hopes to push through reforms on immigration, education and energy appear to be dashed." But you failed to admit why. Again, the reforms were blocked by the automatic anti- Bush crowd and that means his presidency is not so much a failure as are the democrats in Congress and their mouthpieces in the media.

Nicolaus Bruns


Glenview , I Il . I find it very difficult to want to give President Bush a verbal pat on the back about the success of "the surge," when his administration was responsible for sending inadequate numbers of troops from the very beginning, which resulted in the large numbers of casualties we have become used to hearing about. His stubborn refusal to listen to his own generals, until it must have become clear even to him that his war was not going well, is the epitome of arrogance. I am no supporter of the war that has been waged on Iraq, and I deplore the deaths and devastation that this country is responsible for. To give him credit "for the fortitude to execute one very tough call" is just wrong. It was simply another example of the bullheaded disregard that he has shown for factual information that does not correspond to his wishes since 2001.

Susan Logan


San Leandro , Calif. Thank you for finally saying something positive about President Bush! I firmly believe that media bias is the principal reason that his approval ratings are so low. His response to 9/11, early in his presidency was resolute and firm, and I believe, saved our nation. It is no accident that we have not been attacked again. The current public view regarding Bush's tenure in general, and the Iraq war in particular is the result of the greatest "groupthink" exercise in history, engineered by the Democratic National Committee with amazing help from their many friends and supporters in the media. I have yet to hear from President Bush's detractors about how they would have dealt with Saddam. I will grant that the Iraq war was badly mismanaged for far too long. I am so thankful, and we as a nation should be so thankful that President Bush finally had the vision and the fortitude to correct it. We would be in a sad state of affairs indeed if we had surrendered to the enemy, as so many on the left apparently still want us to do.

Walt Russell


Palmyra , Wis. I appreciate your wanting feedback on your reporting of the war in Iraq. It is nice to hear you are critical of yourselves, but I still haven't seen much reporting of all of good things that are going on in that country. How are the schools doing; what about commerce in the country; is the medical service improving; what about the political scene; is the oil money being fairly spread among the three groups, etc.? Your article on "Oil Under the Gulf" is a good example. Oil prices might not fall immediately with more drilling, but you have to start sometime. Alternative fuels wouldn't reduce gasoline prices soon either. We need it all, including nuclear and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

John Sanderson


Lisle, Ill. I have subscribed to U.S.News & World Report for approximately 15 years. During that time I have for the most part been a cover-to-cover kind of reader. I continue to enjoy Ken Walsh, Kevin Whitelaw, and Mort Zuckerman. Writers come and go and the necessity of change cannot go unanswered. Regrettably, I find myself questioning the continued personal relevance of what for many years has been a journalistic window through which I view the world. What I previously regarded as an honest, fair, objective, and balanced presentation of salient domestic and global matters no longer seems to spare the extraneousness nor the tediousness that once made U.S. News & World Report such an invaluable resource to me. I have a harder time differentiating the content of today's magazines from everything else out there. Because U.S. News has literally been a bedside companion to me for the past decade and a half, I felt I owed it to you to let you know.

Jonathan Leizman, M.D.


Beachwood , Ohio My wife and I have been reading U.S. News for many years. It was a factor in our daughter's college selection. We like the format. I read "Washington Whispers" and Mortimer Zuckerman in each issue. You are "on point" and avoid the melee of reporting on the latest cult personalities. Since retiring, I read the hard copy version more, but prefer the web version. Thanks for a concise, informative, and unbiased magazine.

John Hamlet


Beverly , N.J. I think the most important news story today is the one not being sufficiently covered by any of the public news outlets—and that has to do with the destruction of our democracy by the greedy, self-centered bunch of crooks we have in Washington called Congress as they are about to paralyze our system of government with earmarks. Start a campaign about all the money and graft being taken from lobbyists by Congress. Expose the greedy as well as the crooked. Tell the world of their back-alley dealings and you'll create a buzz that will have readers eagerly checking your website for teases and reading your magazine for the full exposure. Then, use this information to push for another Constitutional Amendment to require politicians to report kick-backs in the form of contributions from lobbyists and then tie them to their votes in Congress for earmarks. Such a bill could never pass Congress could ignite a firestorm of support as an amendment to the constitution. Your magazine could get the credit—and the readership. After being a continuous subscriber of for over 44 years, it truly saddens me to see what the Internet is doing to print newsmagazines but no doubt you have aided in your magazine's decline by your recent tilt leftward from your conservative past.

Ron Lawrence


Via E-mail