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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about US withdrawal from Iraq, nationality in hockey, and balancing sports with academics.

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Withdrawal from Iraq would increase sectarian fighting

Regarding Monica Duffy Toft's June 2 Opinion piece, "Why Islam lies at the heart of Iraq's civil war": Clearly Ms. Toft is informed as to the Islamic factions, but extrapolates from them in ways that are not justified. She states that "withdrawal is likely to transform the fighting in Iraq into a defensive struggle for power in a nation-state, as opposed to an offensive battle rooted in religion." Withdrawal will exacerbate the religious conflict because Iraqis have no other basis than religion for organizing a society.

Secularism was imposed upon the Iraqi people by Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party. The average Iraqi has no loyalty or impulse toward that form of nation-state.

We are trying to show, through demonstration and persuasion, the unique advantages of a democratic representative republic, with separation of religion and state, in ameliorating traditional conflicts between tribal and religious factions.

She also states, "The withdrawal of US forces would allow Iraq's predominantly Arab Shiites and Sunnis to find common interest in opposing their two more classical historical adversaries: Kurds and Persians": The Kurds are not a serious threat to the Sunnis, much less the far more populous Shiites.

Premature withdrawal will ensure a brief religious civil war ending in Iraq's becoming a client state of Iran.

Regarding Monica Duffy Toft's recent Opinion piece on Iraq's civil war: I was glad to see the piece. On June 28, 2004, President Bush announced that Iraq is now a sovereign country.

What is troubling to me and, I assume, to numerous other Americans, is that the Bush administration cannot match its declarations with its deeds.

I see no reason to finance another country's existence with American taxpayers' money.

Hockey skill matters more than roots


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