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Bad news from Iraq reflects reality

JEFF JACOBY'S praise of the accomplishments achieved in Iraq might be more convincing if we hadn't been through all this before (''The good news from Iraq is not fit to print," op ed, Nov. 2). We know what the reality is.

I was old enough to serve in Vietnam, but I had already served four years in the Air Force, so I was not susceptible to being drafted. I had the luxury of watching the tragedy unfold in safety. That war, and the civil war it fostered in the United States, was an education. It became clear that when the government decides to go to war, it launches a barrage of relentless propaganda, lies whenever it has to in order to fool people into thinking the war is just and necessary, sets up a puppet regime, talks a lot about freedom and democracy, and fabricates stories about how well the war is proceeding by making up body counts and pretending that the enemy is ineffective (e.g., the infamous ''Friday night follies").

In desperation, the United States dropped napalm on men, women, and children and claimed we had destroyed key Viet Cong operatives. Ultimately, the US troops destabilized Cambodia, allowing the Khmer Rouge to take power and start their own murder machine while we walked away from the horror we created.

Consider the latest caper in Iraq. What if the tables were turned and we were weak and had a natural resource a powerful Islamic nation needed? If this nation invaded us promising to install a good, moral Islamic government, would any of us ever accept that? Would we ever give up the struggle to make them go away? We would be motivated by a hatred that would never tire.

Today, no decent human being who understands and follows the teachings of Jesus would do what George W. Bush has done.

MICHAEL HOFFMAN, Concord

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