In writing a recent letter to the editor concerning criticism of President Bush, my objective was to stimulate some thinking on the part of his critics. I should have been more direct in that letter. My concern was the frequent and incorrect use of the word "liar" by some of the president's critics. They called the president a liar when they were not in any position to know whether or not that is true.
In the common usage of our language, we distinguish between someone who has made a statement in reliance on intelligence he thought to be correct, and someone who has made an incorrect statement knowing that it was incorrect. In dictionaries, "deceit" is defined as lying. To this day, we don't know for certain whether weapons of mass destruction are hidden somewhere in the 168,000 square miles of Iraq or in a neighboring country.
In 2003, we, and many other countries, could reasonably believe, on the basis of Iraq's failure to cooperate with weapons inspectors and their delaying of inspections, that Iraq had something to hide. They might have had weapons of mass destruction that were hidden in Iraq, or in an adjacent country. The fact we have not found such weapons, does not prove that Iraq did not have them.
The problem with pulling out of Iraq prematurely is that the terrorists are likely to consider that they have easily defeated the greatest military power on Earth. They may think that they can defeat America again on their home soil because America will give up when they have suffered 3,000 casualties.
Beating the terrorists is not an impossible task, unless we believe it is. With a broad range of strategies that are military, political, diplomatic, economic, propaganda, mediation and education, we can get a terrorist-free Iraq.
One way to resolve the conflict is for Iraq to have a federal government with three autonomous states -- one would be predominantly Shiite, another predominantly Sunni, and a third predominantly Kurdish. Oil revenue could be distributed among them, based on the percentage of the total population of each state.
Iraq is only part of a bigger war. That was brought home to us by what happened on Sept. 11, 2001. This is a war we cannot afford to lose.
Jim Winter, Payson