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A response to "Fact finding"


To The Editor:

As much as I wanted to ignore Olin Potter's letter ("Fact Finding") in the February 1 edition of The Valley Reporter, I cannot do it. So let me respond by not using any references such as democrat, republican, liberal or conservative. The gist of the letter seems to be that those politicians that went on a fact-finding mission to Iraq were just looking for excuses to prevent the U.S. from winning the war. These people never put forward a better plan just picked on "The Decider's" decisions. If we don't tackle them in Bagdad, they will be blowing up our mosques in Montpelier, and we just need to give our generals, who want more troops, the money and troops to win the war.

It was so appropriate that the next day in USA Today, General Casey, the four-year commander of our troops in Iraq, said the number (',500) of additional troops would need to be supported by at least another 20,000 support troops so the real number and cost is twice what was requested. For the last four years the generals wanted more troops and were rebuffed continually by the secretary of defense, backed strongly by the president, who reduced, replaced and early retired everyone who didn't agree with his numbers.

The key issue here is that when the war started (without arguing about the necessity), the State Department had planned one and a half years for the aftermath of running the country and the Defense Department less than a month, when the war started. It was over quickly and Rumsfeld, Cheney and the Narcons pulled the responsibility away from the State to Defense, which is why we seldom hear from Colin Powell today.

The time for more troops was three years ago. Dad was trying to extricate son by getting together a very qualified non-partisan evaluation group. They recommended methods to end the war and they didn't include more of the same. A major mistake was made when we label some country we consider dangerous, "an axis of evil," then state your policy is to strike first and talk later, and then break off all communications. This kind of leaves you with few options other than a bag of wind.

This is an important confrontation and everyone knows the solution is to solve the Israel/Palestinian situation, which has been ignored for the past five years by the current administration. Israel was told do whatever you want and we will back you up, which has led to the recent problem in Lebanon and expansion of tension throughout the Middle East and the world.

So the answer is not to continue to give a poor "decider" more opportunities for bad decisions, but to guide him to what the State Department, the top generals and all the ones that have been in the war zone agree is a best solution, pushing the Iraqis to solve their religious squabbling, talk to the surrounding countries, don't let the Europeans off the hook and don't leave the area until you can work out some kind of solution.

It isn't easy and that is why we didn't carry the first war any further. Now can we please have a show of hands for the numbers that still think Saddam was behind 9-11.

Paul Cunningham



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