Quit blaming Bush and rebuild Iraq

Shame on those who - while exercising their right to disagree with President Bush's Iraq policy - are unable to conceal their visceral hatred for George W. Bush. Much of Hollywood, television and other media personalities and comedians also fail to conceal their personal loathing for our president. That he carries on in his position in spite of the constant barrage of ridicule is an indication of the remarkable mettle of the man.

Intelligence agencies around the world believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Even France. with its highly sophisticated intelligence agencies, agreed that those weapons existed. France tried to put off the invasion to give Saddam more time to consider the harm to Iraq if he failed to cooperate with inspectors.

While discussions were properly taking place in the West, convoys of trucks from Baghdad traveled into Syria. It is reasonable (if not certain) that Saddam shipped much weaponry out of Iraq. Why he did not, then, invite inspectors in is a mystery. Whatever his motive, Saddam caused his own downfall and the subsequent horrors that have been visited on his people.

Bush's administration can properly be faulted for not anticipating the internecine hatreds endemic in much of the Islamic world. We readily recognized the hatred that fanatical Muslims have for the West; but we (Bush's administration) failed to realize that sectarian hatred in the Middle East is equally combustible.

While unliberal liberals continue to attack the person of our president, let people of reason hope that we can depart from an Iraq led by a strong government. Our departure should be on our terms, and with our heads held high, and an undying gratitude for our fighting men and women who sacrificed so much in the act of helping the good people of Iraq.

Gene L. Rickaby, Martinez

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