The enemies of America's enemies in Iraq Before we let Sens. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, and George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, write off the war in Iraq ("GOP doubts on war widen," Page 1, Wednesday), let's consider some positive "blowback."
While it is true that the U.S. is no longer "invulnerable" because of our geographic advantages (e.g., surrounded by water or allies), as demonstrated on September 11, we are allowing the true "war of civilizations," i.e., within Islam, to blossom in Iraq. And this may erect a major distraction among — if not a barrier from — our adversaries.
Sunni tribal leaders and warlords and their militias in Anbar province and elsewhere are tentatively "allied" with our forces against their Sunni brethren, al Qaeda in Iraq. There are other Sunni splinter groups, such as the Islamic Army in Iraq, who are battling al Qaeda in Iraq as well.
Shi'ites are fighting Shi'ites: Moqtada al Sadr, who supports Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Sheikh Sadr's Mahdi Army, are fighting internal as well as external opposition Shi'ite militias. These militias may be sponsored by Iran, such as the Badr Brigade militia under ailing Abdul Aziz Hakim's Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), who is also supported by the United States. Sheikh Sadr meanwhile may have recently returned from Iran (go figure) and by the way is also wooing Sunnis.
And Sunnis and Shi'ites are also, of course, fighting each other.
So, the war in Iraq has divided what were allies, and splintered what were relatively cohesive, and, in many cases, anti-Western, groupings. This war includes often solipsistic rules against our way of life, for example the religious dogma circumscribing clothing and other cultural statements to exclude Western influence.
Antagonisms among groups that were always adversaries are exacerbated on the one hand, and courted on the other.
The more warring groups focus against each other, the less energy they have to focus against us and our allies around the world. So, the cauldron that we stirred up is redounding against our multiple adversaries.
Mr. Lugar feels we risk a "wider regional conflict stimulated by Sunni-Shi'ite tensions," if we withdraw. Perhaps we should split the differences, start to retrench presaging phased withdrawal, and watch the "enemies of our enemies" and even the friends of our enemies in these internal contradictions go at it.
ONA M. BUNCE
Deception in Castro's Cuba
A regional briefing (World, Tuesday) stated that economic reform is being considered by the Cuban government because of an increase in survey activity, instigated by the shift in power from the weakened Fidel Castro to his younger brother, Raul.
Please keep in mind that deception has always played a part in Fidel Castro's Cuba, and this action may be inconsequential when the Cuban government refuses to come to terms with its northern adversary. Both of these individuals have to enforce a Marxist doctrine in order to give their dictatorship a legitimate appearance.
Thus, even if the nation's economy and the people's well-being are in dire straits, the Communist government will make no concessions in its control over Cuban society in both the present and the near future. North Korea already has displayed a prime example of the horrors a Marxist tyrant is willing to make his people endure simply to retain the autocratic power of his government; starvation, conformist propaganda, even countrywide secret gulags are wielded consistently to keep the present government in power, and although no such means are implemented in Cuba, the Castro brothers certainly have no qualms about spilling innocent blood. Only with both proper evaluation and sound judgment in the nation's actions will the United States help spare Cuba of that bleak fate.
Backward in the Balkans
I do hope that the readers of your newspaper will take a moment to absorb what Michael Djordjevich has so eloquently and succinctly said in his excellent opinion piece "Kosovo conundrum" (Op-Ed, Friday).
The question to be asked iswhy has the United States found it so necessary to accommodate the extremist Muslims in the Balkans? Is it perchance an attempt to assuage Muslims elsewhere due to ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? If so, the United States isattempting a very dangerous balancing act and has taken its eye off the ball in the Balkans in its so-called war against terrorism. And in so doing it is trampling upon the United Nations Charter and the tenets of international law. How pathetic of a once great nation.
What Americans want from immigration reform
The amnesty bill has died a good death, but we shouldn't pat ourselves on the back and wait for the next debacle ("Immigration bill quashed," Page 1, Friday). I encourage all Americans to continue to drive home our message to our elected representatives. We're not only sick and tired but angry with people who break our laws at the border — and yes, that includes our northern border and shores. We don't want amnesty in any form. We don't want to be called racists, and emphatically reject that term, because illegal immigration is not a race-based issue. Anyone who pulls out the race card does so only because they know the racist label is incendiary and their other arguments have failed.
We don't want lawbreakers in any form, ever; we already grow enough of those from within. We don't want a subclass of illegal workers abused by greedy employers, willing to work for lower pay than employable Americans would. We don't believe illegals are doing work Americans won't do. We don't want legal immigrants treated like illegal aliens just because they're from a certain ethnic group. We don't want special programs that permit illegal aliens to get drivers' licenses (pay attention, Maryland), at the expense of law-abiding Americans.
We do want the world's tired, its poor and its hungry, people who want a better life, but not under the existing circumstances. We want to see immigrants who have waited in line become citizens who have learned our language and assimilated. We want people treated equally and with respect. We want existing laws enforced, and that includes punishing employers who hire and take advantage of illegals. We want our representatives to bring forth incremental bills to fix existing problems with the laws that allow the continued influx of illegals. And we want our courts to be able to deport lawbreakers expeditiously and permanently. If it takes a fence, so be it. If we need a guest-worker program, create one, but only after many of the existing illegal aliens have gone home.
And to our elected representatives, you know who we are. Many of you heard our voices this week. But, shame on those of you who voted against your people. We may not have read the entire amnesty bill or any of it; most of you didn't, either. But we're not as stupid as some of you seemingly think we are.