Supports president's policy in Middle East

June 15, 2004

Dear Editor:

In Roger Bowman's letter to the editor of June 11, "Iraq not worth a single drop of American blood," he asks: "Why should our sons and daughters shed their blood for them?," referring to the Iraqis. As an active-duty Air Force officer, I have not been called upon to serve in Iraq. At some point in the next couple of years, I very possibly will. I will do so because it is my duty. I also happen to support our president's policy in the Middle East.

With all due respect to Mr. Bowman, his letter makes statements which lack any basis in fact.

Example No. 1: "Iraq was a sovereign nation, just as we are." I would never say that Saddam's Baathist Iraq, in any form or fashion, is "just as we are" in America. The sovereignty of a nation is never absolute, and its legitimacy is derived from its citizens. When a nation abuses the fundamental rights of those it claims to represent, then it surrenders any rights of sovereignty. That Saddam, the "Butcher of Baghdad," has abused the rights of his people, and been a menace to his neighbors (Iran, Kuwait) is undeniable. While the Iraqi transitional government was assembled with the assistance of the United States, it will be the most representative and legitimate body to ever govern Iraq. Even the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has come out in support of the new government.


Example No 2: "You do not unleash war upon sovereign nations just because you do not approve of the leader and the way that leader leads." Actually, we do. Do Milosevic, Castro, Bishop (Grenada), and Noriega ring a bell? Throughout its history, the United States has engaged in proactive military action when it was in America's national security interest to do so.

Example No. 3: "We need to stop meddling in the internal affairs of other nations who pose no direct threat to us. One should not go where one is not wanted." In today's post-9/11 world, such simplistic and isolationist thinking is remarkable. President Bush's goal of creating an opportunity for freedom and democracy in the heart of the Middle East is a long-term strategic and truly progressive strategy.

As Bush said in 2003, "stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder." Radical Islamic terrorism is not a new phenomenon - it has been brewing for over 20 years. The war on terrorism will not be won in two years. We cannot capture or kill all the terrorists. To use an economic analogy, we must focus on demand, not supply. Only by removing repressive tyrants and encouraging free and open societies, particularly in the Arab world, can we hope to win the war on radical Islamic terrorism.

In 1946, the Saturday Evening Post ran a story titled "How we botched the German occupation." In that same year, Life magazine ran a story titled "Americans are losing the victory in Europe." Of course, history proved those opinions wrong. History will also prove wrong today's critics.

Alexander Gordon Montgomery

Bellbrook, Ohio

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