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Letter from the Editor

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Each week, I get a letter or two along these lines: "Enough with the rants about how the war on terrorism is wrong, illegal, and immoral. How about speaking from your lofty perch at the Flyer and sharing your wisdom on how it should be done? How about telling us what you would have done after September 11, 2001 ..."

Fair enough. First, I've never ranted about the "war on terror" being illegal or immoral. And if you read the Flyer, you know that we supported the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. And we were -- and still are -- in favor of capturing Osama bin Laden and bringing other terrorists to justice.

But, as has been made abundantly clear by numerous sources, this administration used the war on terror to get the war it really wanted -- with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The release last week of a memo detailing the final prewar meeting between Bush and Tony Blair revealed that the leaders discussed ways to provoke Iraq into attacking and that both men also knew that we were unlikely to find WMD.

Which means we were taken to war on lies. The Bush administration cynically manipulated public opinion by implying Saddam was involved in 9/11; massaged "intelligence" that supported war and suppressed or ignored intelligence that did not. Which means tens of thousands of men, women, and children have died needlessly.

And those lies brought us a war and an occupation that have been so mismanaged that they represent a new measuring stick of U.S. administrative incompetence.

But I'm ranting again. Sorry. Thousands of needless deaths do that to me. You want to know what I'd do if I were president? I'd listen to Representative John Murtha and pull American troops out of harm's way immediately, and out of Iraq by the end of the year. Then I'd go to the United Nations and admit that we screwed up. And I'd ask for help, especially from other Middle East countries. I'd put the special forces units that had been tied up in Iraq on the hunt for bin Laden and other terrorists. I'd bring the National Guard back home, where they're supposed to be, so they can help us secure our ports and borders and assist with disaster relief.

And I'd stop ranting.

Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor

brucev@MemphisFlyer.com

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