Debating Anti-Obama Bias, Military Cuts, and Iraq

The merits of making defense reductions, and debating the Iraq exit.

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Biased Against Obama?

As a faithful subscriber to U.S. News for the last four years, I am getting tired of your incessant awarding of a C or C- to President Obama, which I think is completely unfair [Washington Whispers, August 6 and 13]. Do I get the impression that this is an indication of a die-hard partisan stand, one that will never change no matter what happens?

RAVIPRAKASH DANI Lubbock, Texas

Rangel and Waters Scandals

Time for them to go—period [Editor’s Note, August 13].

[See a slide show of 10 Reasons Charlie Rangel Is in Trouble.]

MIKE DUDENAS Mohawk, Mich.

Stripping Down the Military

Before any reductions in defense are made, I would ask the administration to work with Congress to reduce entitlements and other programs on a one-for-one basis [“Gates’s Pre-emptive Budget Attack,” August 13]: a billion dollars in defense matched by a billion dollars in reduced entitlements and other wasteful programs. The billions in farm subsidies, hundreds of millions of which go to millionaires, come to mind, and any federal program that has not had a thorough rejustification in the last 10 years. Further, how about gradually raising the full Social Security entitlement age to 70 and lifting the ceiling on income subject to Social Security taxes? Incentivize savings and investments by eliminating taxes on interest and dividends, and keep the current tax cuts in place until real reform can be effected. Move to consumption taxation only and eliminate all the insidious regulatory fees. I would gladly pay a flat 25 percent to 28 percent tax on consumption if it would eliminate the labyrinth of wasteful and bureaucratic processes currently associated with our taxation approach.

GORDON HAGEWOOD Burke, Va.

Why do we need so many bases in Germany and other parts of the world? Of course, the Republicans will scream “No” at the thought of closing these bases at the same time that they scream “deficits” at every opportune moment. I realize these bases keep people employed, but at the expense of our failing national infrastructure, education, etc. 

MARILYN MUELLER Alpharetta, Ga.

The Iraq Quagmire

I am not sure if democracy will last in the country unless there are people willing to fight for it [Editor’s Note, August 20].  However, we should continue to assist their efforts with whatever means necessary. A stable, friendly Iraq will be key to keeping Iran under control and bringing a semblance of stability to the region. Is a stable Iraq a cure-all?  Hardly, but it sure helps our efforts in the region.

TIM MCKENNA Spanish Fork, Utah

We need to keep the 50,000 training troops in Iraq for a while and keep assessing the situation to determine when and if we should pull our troops out. If they can form a government that includes the Sunnis, then they have a good chance of success. Otherwise, we may have to pull out of Iraq.

HOWARD THIBODEAU Redding, Calif.

Exit is long overdue. We needed to get rid of Saddam and his sons, secure the oil supply, and warn off Iraq’s neighbors, especially Iran. Once that was done, declare victory and stand by in Kuwait. No need to nation-build. Let the Iraqis do that; it’s not worth American blood and treasure. Nation-building is historically a failed policy. The will to fight to a definitive victory, or at least to accomplish immediate objectives and leave, must be restored.

GEORGE RULE San Diego

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