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Frivolous war has cost us the respect of the world

April 25, 2004|by Richard J. McEvoy

To the editor:

The United States must admit that it was wrong in attacking Iraq and apologize to the world to restore our international credibility. Weapons of mass destruction have not been found, which we were so sure about as our primary reason for launching the war. There have been no proven prewar ties of Iraq to al Qaeda and therefore the war was not an extension of the war on international terror as the Bush administration wants us to believe.

The war has only been a distraction from the war on terror and has diverted resources that could have been used for that effort and at the same time has given more incentive to the terrorist cause.

The Washington Post states that the invasion of Iraq has accelerated the spread of Osama bin Laden's anti-Americanism among once-local Islamic militant movements, increasing the danger to the United States. How can the Bush administration continue to claim that this is a war against terrorism, when it will only succeed in producing more terrorism?

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This has been brought about by an increase in terrorist attacks throughout the world, most recently in Spain.

Spain's response in ousting its leaders who supported Bush's Iraq policy is not an appeasement of terrorists as some have claimed, but a clear message to those who have increased the threat of terrorism that their policies are wrong.

We have squandered over 600 American and an estimated 10,000 Iraqi lives and many billions of dollars in this unnecessary war.

We are now stuck with a continuing reconstruction and political stabilization effort, which will be our responsibility for many years to come, at the expense of more lives and many billions of dollars. We acted almost unilaterally to start the war, and now we want the U.N. to step in and clean up our mess.

How much better off would we be if we had listened to the international community and let the U.N. inspections find what the war has found: No WMDs and no ties to al Qaeda. Iraq would still have Saddam, but he was never a threat to the U.S. or our allies. It remains to be seen whether democracy will succeed in an area so religiously and ethnically divided. We have only succeeded in increasing the threat of global terrorism and alienated many of our international friends.

According to a recent nonpartisan Pew Research Center poll, the image of the U.S. in foreign countries has never been lower.

A majority of the poll respondents in every country except the U.S. said the war in Iraq hurt the battle against terrorism. Too many of us in this country still believe the misleading statements of the Bush administration. We must own up to the fact that the war in Iraq was wrong and stand up against the erroneous thinking that got us there.

We need an administration that will restore honor and integrity to this country, that will concentrate on the war on terror and not sidetrack it to an unnecessary cause. We should be the leaders of the world community and not the bullies we have become under Bush's international policies. We will never win the war on terrorism this way. We will only perpetuate it.

Just think where we would all be if we had Bush and his cronies in charge during the Cuban missile crises.

Richard J. McEvoy
Hagerstown

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