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Suggestions for the White House

Steve Chapman seems to want us out of Iraq (“Unshakeable Optimism,” Commentary, Wednesday), but he fails to say so. He glibly abuses a story from Ronald Reagan to label President Bush as subject to “the hobgoblin of little minds” and even tries to portray him as Hitler-in-the-bunker with the wording of his essay’s title.

With undue respect to Mr. Chapman, war isn’t easy — there has never been a war for our survival which could not have been as glibly criticized. Since he failed to recommend anything (other than “try harder to please me”), here are a couple of my suggestions for the White House:

n Frequently quote the “Mission Accomplished” speech that has been so dishonestly mischaracterized by the media and more overt enemies. A public re-reading on the anniversary would help reinforce how wrong the treasonous critics have been.

n Bring military recruitment into the 21st century by dramatically reforming the reach and scope of inviting the volunteer preservers of freedom. Grant those who serve a fuller share of the honor they merit, and prove to America’s foes that we are serious about winning.

The commitment of ground forces is a moral obligation to victory. They should only be withdrawn under one of two conditions:

n The end of a half century of stable occupation, with no potential enemy (like China or Russia in the cases of Japan and Germany) to be countered in the neighborhood.

n The final signal that a plethora of mushroom clouds is about to render the enemy territory incompatible with our ground forces’ well-being.

We don’t get to just leave. Our retreat from Vietnam resulted in untold deaths, but only willful ignorance can deny that a cut-and-run from Iraq will make that travesty look like a mere oopsie.


Provo, Utah