To the Editor:

There are two issues I would raise with the article on Iraq (“U.S. must remain in Iraq until Korean outcome is prevented,” 11/29): first, it neglects the fact that we invaded Iraq; second, it suggests that the people of Iraq think or act as one. The reality on the ground is that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis view the U.S. as an invader and occupier of their country. It is hard to bring democracy or any other possible positive benefit when one is perceived as an uninvited presence in the country. The second issue is to assume that Iraq is a country which thinks with one mind or speaks with one voice. Again, reality on the ground is that Iraq is a kaleidoscope of geographic regions and religious groups all with their own identities and agendas. There is next to no true national consensus, except perhaps for the fact that we are invaders of Iraq. Given the reality of our posture in Iraq and the makeup of Iraq, we are sadly deceiving ourselves if we believe that anything can be gained by our remaining in place. All our presence in Iraq is really doing is fanning the fires of resentment not only in Iraq but throughout the Middle East, weakening rather than strengthening our position in the world and exposing the troops we have committed to this misadventure to grave harm. Clearly, we cannot cut and run; we owe more than that to the people (American and Iraqi) whose lives we have put at jeopardy. Nevertheless, a clear plan for withdrawal from Iraq is essential, but like so much else in this tragic venture brought to us by the current administration, it is missing.

Whitman Knapp ’62

Nov. 20, 2005