Questions linger regarding Iraq conflict

I am retired and subscribe to your paper, and read it daily, and I watch a news channel on television every day. I never claimed to be the most intelligent person in the world, and am probably going downhill in my later life.

That is why I am writing. I hope that you or some of your readers could help me with a couple of questions:

- I understand that in Iraq, Sunni insurgents are killing the Shias, and the Shiite death squads are killing the Sunnis. Recently I read Sen. Chuck Hagel's comments that the Sunnis also are killing al-Qaida operatives in Iraq. My understanding of our troops' mission is that they are supposed to kill Sunni insurgents, Shiite death squads and al-Qaida operatives. My question is: Why are we involved in this killing?

- About the leadership in Iraq: In the United States, candidates for president have no chance for election if they cannot raise millions of dollars for advertising and buying the endorsements that are required to win. How did Iraq's Nouri al-Maliki get elected? I know that millions of people voted, but how did they know whom to vote for? In the United States, we have excellent communications, and the candidates are still unsure if the electorate knows them or their opinions. In Iraq, this surely is not the case.

If your learned readers could answer these questions, I have more to ask.

Chuck Clark, Augusta

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