Letters to the editor
Sands of victory
Covering our tracks before the final battle
Editor, The Times:
It's my guess that all the fighting that's still happening in Iraq is just to see who is going to be top dog when we leave, because the fighters know we will leave eventually. Whether we're driven out or just lose interest doesn't really matter to them, so long as we go.
In the meantime, our soldiers will continue to die and occasionally some terrible thing will happen that will make us look bad, like Abu Ghraib or the recent roadside bombing that ended up with two Iraqi households, including invalids and young kids, gunned down ["Video shows aftermath of alleged U.S. attack on civilians," Times page one, March 22].
We're getting to the point where we've lost nearly as many of our own as were killed on 9/11 and we've spent on awful lot of money. We didn't find a connection to 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction, but we deposed Saddam and brought the ballot to the Iraqis.
That's enough. I hope we're not fighting so we can have military bases nearer to Middle Eastern oil.
Let the Iraqis form their own government; let Saddam's trial finish, then let's get out of there. I think the Iraqi government will step up when it's their mess alone to solve. It won't be our fight anymore.
— Andrew Dunn, Normandy Park
Softening up the ground so the next command can stand firm
President Bush's recent remark that future U.S. presidents and Iraqi governments would determine when the last American troops leave Iraq was not just a statement of likely fact. It was also a smart strategic move ["Bush: Troops in Iraq past 2008," page one, March 22].
Bush's dismal approval ratings at home and America's increasing unease with this war's progress have not been lost on the insurgents. Opponents of democracy in Iraq know they will never break the back of the U.S. military. Their best hope is that, within our own country, growing political opposition to this war will somehow force Bush's hand, leading to a precipitous withdrawal of American troops.
In one comment, President Bush took all the wind out of their sails. He made clear that, as commander in chief, he has the power to continue prosecuting this war whether a majority of Americans support the campaign or not, and fully intends to do so through the end of his term.
Thus the insurgents get a little lesson in how republican governments operate. And, they are forced to wait until 2009 and beyond before having any hope of seeing America go wobbly.
Way to use a bully pulpit, Mr. President.
— Elliott Emry, Seattle
Fall back and reload
Say what? So George Bush will just leave our troops in Iraq endlessly, refusing to set a timetable for their exit, and future presidents will deal with it? Well then, he'd better institute a draft, because it is neither right nor fair to keep sending the same people on tour after tour. And not too many people are joining up to be moving targets in Iraq.
And I guess he'd better raise taxes to pay for all this, because we can't afford to keep putting it on the country's credit card.
Yeah, that'll happen.
— Mary Claire Duncan, Seattle
The civilizing farce
President Bush, for once, has it right: There is no civil war in Iraq ["Civil war in Iraq? White House says no," page one, March 20].
What there is in Iraq is anarchy and chaos. There is no functioning government at all.
For a civil war, you need two governments in one country (as we had during our Civil War). In Iraq you have murders, kidnappings, attacks on police stations, almost every day — no one is even counting the dead!
The so-called government we set up is a farce; it is doing nothing you expect of a government.
So, we must get out of Iraq now, immediately. Not one more American soldier should die over there!
— Harry Gilbert, Seattle
I can find not a single media outlet, broadcast, print or otherwise, that noticed the outrageous lie told by George Bush in answer to White House correspondent Helen Thomas' question in a recent news conference. While everyone took the red-meat bait of Thomas' direct question about Bush's real reason for the Iraq war, no one listened to what he said.
Bush said "We worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him."
Everyone knows we didn't attack Iraq because the [weapons] inspectors were denied entry. It is a glaringly obvious lie told by a president who simply strings together the propaganda phrases — and no one noticed.
Have we become so numb to lies that we no longer hear them? Have we become so programmed to follow the conflict of the day that we have become blind to the obvious?
It is time to take stock of how deluded we have become. The media must wake up to their failings and address the big picture. We must quit being led around on a leash by the presidential propaganda machine. It is about the finding and reporting of truth.
— Marc Sterling, Olympia
War is Helen
Biographer Richard Reeves notes that Ronald Reagan and his wife saved "journalist" Helen Thomas from being killed or injured by Soviet goons in Moscow during the president's visit to then-President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Back then, almost 20 years ago, Thomas was at least a nominal journalist with delusions of objectivity. Then she gave up the pretense.
For at least a decade she has been a blatant and partisan hack who, like partisan hack Jeff Gannon [ne James Guckert], should have been ejected from the White House press corps and who should not be allowed to attend and disrupt White House press conferences.
— Cody Kerns, Seattle
All quiet on the front question
"Bush: Troops in Iraq past 2008," about George Bush's press conference, neglected to report that he responded to [Helen Thomas'] question about Iraq by talking about Afghanistan.
The news is not that Thomas interrupted him to correct his mistake, but that he keeps getting those nations confused.
Our troops and our nation are bleeding for that error, and that is surely newsworthy.
— Randall Winn, Mercer Island
Planning the evasion
In business, a common process-improvement technique is:
4) Act (re-evaluate and adjust the process).
I believe the Bush administration's technique for process improvement is:
3) Mislead and deny
4) Blame the media.
— Scott Morrison, Mukilteo
From here to obscurity
Here's the plan:
1/18/09: A small dinner party for all loyal George Bush supporters who stayed with W to the end. The three of them — Harriet Miers, Condi Rice, and Karl Rove — will enjoy their last soiree at the White House, stepping out on the Portico to warm themselves around a fire pit, where George is burning the last remaining pages of the Constitution. Rummy will be long gone from Washington, having departed earlier so he could take his standup routine on the road. Dick Cheney will not be attending because he has some last-minute chores, looting the budget to fill Halliburton's coffers so there will be adequate funding for his retirement package.
1/19/09: Packers will arrive at the Oval Office. They are instructed to leave the administration's blinders behind since they were worn out from eight years of heavy usage. Also, don't pack any newspapers. They weren't read since 2001 — why take unnecessary baggage? But be sure to grab the fat book of contacts so George can find a job after he leaves office. No one is going to approach him for speeches, and think tanks are out of the question. He's a real people person — perhaps he can be a Wal-Mart greeter.
1/20/09: Bush will head into the sunset to Crawford, taking with him the shreds of America's reputation, never to be heard from again except at the occasional ceremonial first pitch at Little League games, or a rare appearance on The Late Late Show when the animal handler cancels.
(This scenario will play out assuming members of Congress sit on their hands and let Bush finish out his reign, rather than removing him now and halting the abuses of power.)
— Marian Marszalek, Renton
Word cannot express
Escape from everything
Here, here, James Vesely ["SayWA, the sound of one hand clapping," Editorial Page Editor James Vesely column, March 19, and see "Brows furrow over tourism slogan," Local News, March 16]: I've lived here a year and a half now and within months realized this is one of the most beautiful and diverse states in the U.S. My suggestion for a tagline would be "Washington: The Everything State" and the way Vesely wrote his column emphasizes that point. Well done.
Many people in this country don't know that the abbreviation for Washington state is WA, let alone people internationally, who definitely don't know what it means.
If the Department of Tourism is looking to promote travel and tourism in this state, then "SayWA" is a fun tagline. If it's trying to expand its national and international visitors market, then it may have missed the mark.
— Jane Baxter Lynn, Seattle
I can't believe "SayWA" is what some brilliant "brain trust" has come up with to promote tourism in the state.
To my ears, "SayWA" sounds like a lyric from some hip-hop gangsta-rap song. "SayWA" is insulting and is an embarrassment to the people and region it is supposed to represent.
I hope enough people take a moment to voice their disapproval and that the esteemed marketers of this wonderful state will rethink their decision.
I say "Try again." Better yet, invite the people to submit suggestions. We certainly can't do any worse.
— Murray Greenwood, Seattle
What could it hurt
I have to agree with James Vesely on this one. This slogan ["SayWA"] sucks. I am sure with just a little more brainstorming, we could come up with something much better.
Put out a contest to anyone in Washington to come up with a slogan and vote on it.
— John Scheidt, Lynnwood
An outstanding column in The Seattle Times last Sunday. I have some suggestions for the slogan committee:
• "Wander in Washington"
• "Wild Washington"
• "Wonderful Washington"
How many people outside of Washington state think of the other Washington when they see these slogans?
If you think mine are any good, please forward them to the slogan committee, which should offer a prize to the person who comes up with the best slogan.
— Don Cheney, Auburn
WA: As far as you can go
What do you expect with a governor and a teachers union who say the WASL is just too harrrrrd for Washington's students. If we can get them to "SayWA," it's a start.
— Bob Ketterlin, Kirkland
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