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Thursday, June 30, 2005

my reply to richard cohen's column in today's washington post

link to richard cohen column titled "echoes of vietnam" here

my reply:

i enjoyed reading your column in today's washington post (onlineedition) except for the vox populi conventional "wisdom" conclusion you present as fact that leaving iraq would be a disaster..those words: "leaving iraq would be a disaster", "chaos would ensue" etc.. i think they should not be simply stated as mantra.. they should be substantiated..

no one is saying we should drop everything and run but we should eventually leave and we should announce we are going to start leaving because WE have become the problem! the insurgents and differentgroups are going to fight it out in iraq because there is no central core power with enough authority to call the shots....in addition, and very unfortunately, there are some serious differences -historical, cultural and religious, between different groups (sunnis and shiites) and nothing we can do is going to prevent a battle between these groups.. they have some old scores to settle.. you no doubt are familiar with the history of centuries of minority sunni control at the expense of the majority shiites etc.......

our remaining there just weakens the more moderate forces that become allied with us... and other groups can just utilize us as a whipping boy.. what exactly, mr cohen, are we accomplishing in iraq other than attracting problems and serving to weaken our friends there....

ultimately, the iraqui people are going to have to resolve these problems on their own.. we can help them with training and money (and we should .. we should fix everything we've helped break and we should offer some compensation to the innocent civilians killed, etc.) but who exactly are we going to beat in this so called war..? this is not a war! let us not allow the situation to be framed in those misleading terms.. once we accept we are in a war then we have to win.. but whoare we fighting? and why? are we really fighting to prevent terrorists from attacking us? or are we perhaps fighting simply for the the right to say we won a war??

again, loved your piece... usually enjoy your columns.. but a bit rattled by your conclusion which i do not believe flows from the rest of your column.. in fact, when we left vietnam, far too late by all interpretations, things did not fall apart... the communists who counted with far more popular support ended up winning...this was a foregone conclusion as by turning the vietnam war into an US against them we helped strengthen them.. lets not commit the same mistakes here....

i have to tell you i am extremely frustrated by the lack of any forefront politicians emerging to represent the view that it is time to look for an exit strategy.. let us begin to say that we won the war, that this is no war, and let us leave while remaining heavily involved in facilitating in as much as possible the construction of a modern and peaceful iraq

best regards,

sergio magnacca
washington dc

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