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After the Iraq Election
Now that the Iraq election is over, we Americans should say we have done all we can and get out [Jan. 31]. Iraq belongs to the Iraqis, and only they can rule their country. Our staying would give legitimacy to the claim that we are occupying their country. Let’s leave Iraq before it becomes a quagmire for us.
Isabelle Chang
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, U.S.

We may wonder whether the Iraqis can rule themselves. But remember, the British may have had the same question about American colonists. The British probably doubted that American farmers and frontiersmen could ever govern themselves. The first step is never easy, but freedom has to start somewhere.
Phil Gonzalez

Your cover photograph of private First Class Christopher Lujan put a haunting, human face on the war in Iraq. Lujan, with his innocent face, seemed out of place in the uniform of war and on the streets of hell. Many of us are unable to comprehend how, at the beginning of a new millennium, we are still sending out our beloved children to kill and maim one another. Where are the protests? Will we never learn?
Martha Howe
Beaverton, Oregon, U.S.

Why is no one discussing the possibility of replacing the coalition forces in Iraq with friendly or at least neutral forces from Arab countries? Egypt and Jordan should assist in the peacekeeping. Muslim countries should help Iraqi Muslims until an Iraqi army is in place.
Peter B. Saadeh
New York City

I saw the pictures of the Iraqi people walking to the polls to exercise their right to vote in the face of death threats, bombs and with entire families in jeopardy. To vote in spite of all that takes courage above and beyond what most Americans would show today. The Iraqis expressed the true spirit of democracy.
Skip Hall
Columbiana, Alabama, U.S.

The election in Iraq was a fraud. Many of the candidates and party platforms were secret. It was similar to the rigged 1967 election in South Vietnam that brought to power the corrupt President Nguyen Van Thieu.
Roedy Green
Victoria, Canada

Although the Iraqis faced terrorist threats when voting, the election seems to have been a success. But that is not enough. And the government’s future remains uncertain so long as violence continues.
Deepak Kumar Vidhyarthi
Muzaffar Nagar, India

It will be a long time before a conclusion can be reached about the impact that the decision to invade Iraq has had on the long-term global interests of the U.S. Having initiated the war in Iraq, however, the U.S. must not be in a hurry to pull out, despite criticism and pressure. Instead of setting a time limit for eventual withdrawal, the U.S. must make certain Iraq is no longer a danger to the rest of the world and ensure that Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party doesn’t make a comeback soon after the U.S. leaves. It does not matter if it takes 5, 10 or 20 years to achieve these goals; the time spent will be worthwhile.
Ajit Partap Singh
Ludhiana, India

No Need to Rush
News accounts note that now that the Iraqis have held an election [Jan. 31], they will need to write a new democratic constitution before holding further elections. Why? New Zealand has survived for more than 200 years without a traditional, formal, written constitution. Can’t Iraqis delay having a new one for, say, 10 years to see whether Western democracy works for them?
Murray Hunter
Auckland, New Zealand

Too Much Partying?
Instead of being host of an expensive inauguration celebration [Jan. 31] while our troops are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, President George W. Bush could have unified the country by putting the $40 million that the festivities cost into a trust fund. That money could have been paid to the families of our military dead and to the injured and battle-worn survivors of conflicts.
David M. Pepper
Malibu, California, U.S.

Bush’s Brave Words
Can Columnist Joe Klein really be so naive as to believe the rhetoric in Bush’s Inauguration speech about bringing freedom to the world [Jan. 31]? If spreading liberty around the globe were an authentic goal of this Administration, it would not rely on alliances with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
James MacKinnon

Klein suggested that bush is attempting to “confront tyranny with utopian bellicosity” but gives the President credit he scarcely deserves. Far from exuding idealism, Bush seems to exhibit a messianic need to bring the rest of the world in line with the American way. Bush is no prophet. I suspect that for him, sending troops into Iraq (and perhaps Iran in the future) was merely politically expedient. If the President’s commitment to freedom is as idealistic as it sounds, why not invade North Korea? And one might also consider the detainees in Guantánamo Bay, who lost their basic right to a fair trial while they were imprisoned for years. Freedom is not a word you can bandy about as verbal punctuation. Let’s hope Bush will learn what it actually means. That would bode well for the future.
Iona Sharma
Merseyside, England

Bush is a great leader. He spoke about freedom, democracy and how the U.S. will promote liberty all over the world. The American people helped Europeans regain freedom and democracy after World War II. They are doing the same thing today in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans know the cost of liberty, but they won’t change their ideals. I trust President Bush. I’m sorry that I couldn’t vote for him.
Emanuela Pradella
Arona, Italy

Bush’s inaugural speech was firm, positive and optimistic. The President showed great character and strength in the face of adversity. His implied message was that the ongoing war in Iraq does not mean the U.S. cannot take on other adversaries or effect change where necessary. Bush is a strong leader.
Olabode Moses Oluga

I watched Bush’s inaugural speech on television in utter bewilderment as he pronounced the words freedom and liberty again and again. But what struck me most was the moment when security guards grabbed a pair of protesters trying to show their banner. In the spirit of his speech, Bush should have asked that the protesters be allowed to wave their banner. It was another of Bush’s missed opportunities and the only thing that made me smile on that miserable day.
Kees Broertjes

Transatlantic Aircraft
Re your article on the competition between Boeing and its rival, Airbus, the European commercial-airplane manufacturer [Jan. 24]: As Airbus rolls out its new A380 jumbo airliner, you might have noted that U.S. companies provide much of the A380’s expensive avionics equipment. If customers choose the model fitted with the GP7200 engines from Engine Alliance (a joint venture of U.S.-based General Electric and Pratt & Whitney) instead of the Rolls-Royce engines, they will receive a product that has a large part of its equipment made by U.S. companies. That may not comfort Boeing, but it shows how the commercial-airplane business has links on both shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Wolfgang Schaack
Wilhermsdorf, Germany

The Peace of Prayer
Your story on the new science of sleep [Jan. 24] left no room for God. You mentioned lots of dos and don’ts for getting a good night’s sleep, but you never mentioned prayer. All cultures and religions recognize the powers of prayer and faith, especially in crisis situations. Prayer before bedtime can take away all fears of earthquakes, tsunamis and other dangers.
Eric Nwabueze Anene
Aguata, Nigeria

No Tears for the NHL
Your report on the national hockey League (NHL) lockout [Jan. 24] that put the season on hold stated it has been “devastating for the more than 730 players left jobless.” You cannot be serious! Don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for these overpaid, greedy, arrogant athletes. Most of them make more money in a year than the majority of their fans earn in a lifetime. The players’ exorbitant paychecks and the resulting sky-high ticket prices are putting the game out of reach for many fans. The NHL players’ refusal to accept a salary cap caused many people in the hockey support industry — vendors, arena staff, employees of sports bars — to lose their jobs, and now the NHL guys are displacing European players and taking their jobs. All for the sake of money.
David Collinson
Victoria, Canada

Importing Knowledge
Re your report on the Davos World Economic Forum [Jan. 31]: Those who defend economic globalization against the charge that it makes rich countries poor often refer to the reasoning of economist Jagdish Bhagwati and his colleagues. They maintain that it is not realistic to assume that globalization will take high-end jobs away from rich countries. Supporters of globalization say it is not probable that China or India will suddenly develop a huge number of workers with sophisticated and complex skills because the educational sectors in those countries face enormous difficulties. One of the advantages of globalization for China and India, however, is that they can acquire knowledge from other countries by sending their students abroad. Then this newly acquired expertise can be used to make economies at home more competitive, to the detriment of other countries on the global stage. The only way to avoid this practice of outsourcing education would be to deny Indian and Chinese students admission to U.S. universities, a move that would be sure to cause outrage.
Gianluca de Duonni
Waterloo, Belgium

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