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Letters: Iraq involvement a terrible decision

A U.S. Marine watches a statue of Saddam

A U.S. Marine watches a statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled in Firdaus Square in downtown Baghdad. Credit: AP, 2003

I mean no disrepect to the retired Army major who defended the Iraq War ["Renewed fighting in Iraq," Letters, Jan. 12], but to compare the defeat of Germany, Japan and Italy after World War II to the defeat of Saddam Hussein is way off base.

After the peace treaties were signed that ended the Second World War, the Axis nations were completely defeated. In Iraq, we first were fighting against Saddam's army, then against terrorists/ freedom fighters, and there was no clear enemy. When the major fighting ended in Iraq and the new government was established and elections held, there was still violence against the people there.

The people did not want us there, and if we had left our troops there, they would still be in a hostile environment. In contrast, when we left our troops in Germany, Italy and Japan, we were helping rebuild nations. We also stayed there to provent the spread of Communism from Russia and China.

The people of Iraq saw us not as liberators but as foreign invaders -- crusaders, if you will -- and we know how that turned out.

John Walsh, Seaford

Newsday's letter writer takes the hawkish position that we should have stayed in Iraq, and our leaving destabilized the country. I disagree.

What destabilized the country was the religious animosity between the Sunni and Shia Muslims. By getting rid of Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guard, we created a vacuum and a chance for the Shia warlords to fight for power, and they did. Newly unemployed Republican Guards joined the fight.

Al-Qaida came in from neighboring Afghanistan. Iran and other Iraq neighbors saw it as an opportunity for influence there too.

Yes, Hussein had the world fooled about his having weapons of mass destruction, but his bluff allowed him to keep the region stabilized. Our getting involved in Iraq was the worst decision in our military history.

Tyler Cassell, Flushing