Regarding "Time to leave Afghanistan" [Editorial, Oct. 23], what is certain is that this war will not end if we simply pack up and go home from two of the 75 countries in the world where we have troops deployed. That's right, 75. You see, the tip of the spear in this global war on terror, is not in just Iraq or Afghanistan, it is in our clandestine operations, worldwide.

If you had asked me back in 2004-05 if I wanted to go home from Iraq, I would have said, "Of course I want to go home, but I have to complete my mission first."

Going home happens when the job is done, and not before, unless properly relieved. President Barack Obama's sleight of hand in making the U.S. military disappear from Iraq by the New Year is nothing but an illusionist's trick, calculated to endear moderates and his liberal base to his cause of re-election.

If you ask those coming home from Iraq if they are happy, they will say yes. If you ask them if they'd like to go back in a few months when Muktada al-Sadr stages an offensive against the still-weak democratic Iraqi government, they will say, "I'd rather not, but I'll do what I'm trained to do."

How much blood on Obama's hands will it take before we realize that the struggle against Islamist extremists is not over; nor will it be over anytime soon?

Montgomery J. Granger, Port Jefferson Station

Editor's note: The writer is a retired major of the U.S. Army Reserve.

Newsday's editorial ["Finally, an end to the conflict in Iraq," Oct. 23] mentioned that the shifting rationale for war hurt U.S. credibility, but didn't examine where the real push for that war came from: those who would most profit from it, the class referred to by the Occupy Wall Street crowd as the 1 percent. President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us to watch out for the military-industrial complex, and that is really just another name for the same people.

It's difficult to believe we went to war to make money, but that's, as they say, the bottom line. The wealthy profited from this war through ownership of the corporations that produced the munitions and other materials required to fight it. They also hoped to extract favorable oil contracts after installing a more pliable regime than Saddam Hussein, whom they earlier installed into power in Iraq.

We, the 99 percent, get to pay for the military machine. Marine Corps Major Gen. Smedley Butler said decades ago that war is a racket, and nothing going on today contradicts him.

The war in Libya, far from being an internal movement like in Egypt and Tunisia, was another war for profit. For all of Moammar Gadhafi's faults, his people were pretty well off. Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for normalization of relations with the West. If I were in charge of Iran, I would have noted that quite clearly, and I'm sure they did.

David Kulick, Manhattan


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