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Your e-mails: The situation in Iraq

Iraq helicopter
The U.S. military remains busy throughout Iraq, including here, near the border with Syria.




(CNN) -- The conflict in Iraq has stirred a wide range of opinions, emanating from most every corner of the world and across the political arena. asked readers to weigh in on the situation. Their opinions touched on a variety of topics such as the role of Islamic states, the media and political parties; perspectives of current and former soldiers, U.S. citizens and those from other nations; how and why the war began, what should happen next, and how it might end.

The e-mails below represent a sampling of these viewpoints.

We are fighting a bottomless pit of so-called insurgents. There is no clear way to define a terrorist. If an average Iraqi civilian picks up a weapon and points it in the wrong direction, he has become a combatant -- or, as we call them nowadays, a terrorist.
Artur Czepczynski; Fort Campbell, Kentucky

Create an international committee comprised of the United Nations, human rights [organizations], the Red Cross and a few important Muslim (Arab) and non-Muslim neutral nations. ... The decision-making of allied forces and the Iraqi government should be subject to reviews by this watchdog committee to improve the credibility of a free Iraq. The United States must keep its hands off the rebuilding of Iraq with commercial projects [in order] to gain credibility in the Muslim world.
Ramesh Bhattiprolu; Bangalore, India

This is a [U.S.] soldier from Iraq. I am over here for three years, and I am extremely optimistic about ... this country. President Bush made the right decision to finish Saddam.
Terzy Debniak; Mount Vernon, New York (now in Iraq)

Iraq was much safer before the war and, with that, so was the rest of the world. Saddam kept tight control over Iraq. But the United States has made such a mess of the situation that our troops will never be able to leave.
Ted P.; Bellevue, Nebraska

Let us not forget: Terrorists challenge our values by attacking innocent civilians. We have learned a proactive approach saves lives. Time, money and personal sacrifices will save more lives in the future. We provided Iraq with the "stage" to envision and create their own government. We need to stay the course and allow them to finish their job. They will ask us to leave when they are good and ready.
Vince Foley; Ellensburg, Washington

We have lost the war. In fact, we lost before we got started. Any policy based on lies, deceit and greed is doomed to failure. The best we can hope for is a new, sane policy that will result in bringing the troops home. The rebels are getting bolder by the day ... There are too many. They are everywhere. We are nothing but targets.
George Sawtelle; Albuquerque, New Mexico

In spite of obvious war planning errors, the United States has no alternative but to stay the course in Iraq. Yes, the official reason for going to war was shaky. Still, the people of Iraq need and deserve the same freedoms we enjoy. I would like to see us double or triple the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, along with [us making] a firm determination to see the job through to completion. Granted, it might take years. Still, it is the right thing to do.
Christian Courvoisier; Spanaway, Washington

The killing of innocent Iraqis indicates the insurgents do not care about the casualties among Iraqi civilians. My recommendation to the government of the United States is ... to encourage the international community to be involved in Iraq, especially Islamic states. I think new forces should be deployed from Islamic states under the guidance of the United Nations. The United States [will be viewed as] as expansionist if it still does not want the direct involvement of Islamic states in Iraq.
Khalid; Kandahar, Afghanistan

Iraqi baby girl
Five-month-old Khadija labors for breath in a hospital in war-torn Tal Afar, Iraq.

As a father of a Marine [who fought in Operation] Desert Storm, now I'm really upset to see our troops keep getting killed by road bombs. It seems they're just on suicide missions, driving in unprotected vehicles. ... And the media makes me sick to see all the stories of how the insurgent prisoners are treated. ... Their stories cause many deaths around the world. But it's OK for the insurgents to behead and execute their prisoners, which consist of our civilians and troops that are trying to get our job done of rebuilding Iraq's hospitals, schools, etc.
Victor Cejka, Sr.; Hancock, Wisconsin

We broadcast to the world what we are going to do in the future, and they prepare for the happenings. Let Bush and [U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld decide when troops can be withdrawn, and start the process of letting Iraqis slowly take charge. I think this is pretty much what we are doing.
Jim Carter; Biloxi, Mississippi

Bush seems to be more concerned with Social Security than bringing our troops home. I hear from quite a few people ... that have loved ones serving in Iraq, and they speak of "very low morale" over there. I think this "war" should be "top priority" on the president's list. He cannot serve another term, so what does he care? Nor does he have a loved one serving over there. ... We should never have been over there: Our problem was, and still is, in Afghanistan until proven otherwise. And after his term is over, I think [Bush] should be held accountable.
Kimberly; West Grove, Pennsylvania

There's only one real reason that so many people are opposed to the war in Iraq, and it has nothing to do with Bush or Republicans. It's how the media is covering it. Why are deaths, car-bombings and beheadings more newsworthy than ongoing rebuilding and reconstruction work and instances where U.S. troops and Iraqis are working together "successfully"? If you think that people would be less likely to watch the latter, I can promise you this isn't true, especially among military families who are given nothing to look at on the news but how many troops died today.
Gamin Davis; Springdale, Arkansas

It is plain that the operation has failed, regardless of what personal view is held. The European nations involved have missed a golden opportunity to speak up about the impossibility of winning such a guerrilla war. Ireland and Algiers come to mind.
Neil Underwood; Adelaide, Australia

There have been too many of our troops being killed. And for what? Some people say oil, but gas prices are high. And some say to take Saddam out, but he never posed a threat to killing any Americans until we went over there. The truth is that I don't know why we are there, and we need to leave as soon as possible.
Gary; Atlanta, Georgia

The Democrats not only do not support the troops with their mouths, they are endangering them and that makes me furious ... Please, give us the stories about civilians, but do not lie and feed us [garbage] that if only the United States would leave, all would be just "hunky-dory" for the Iraqis. We went in there to help them democratize for humanitarian and strategic reasons, and we need to finish the job. The terrorists want us to leave so they can go right on oppressing people. We must not let them get away with it.
Diana; Connecticut

How can our country change so much after four years? This whole Bush mess got us in is past disgusting. And the Democrats just let it happen. It's a shame.
Claire Turner; Lake Wales, Florida

More than 1,730 U.S. troops, including Lance Cpl. Holly Charette, 21, have died serving in Iraq since March 2003.

I think the United States [should withdraw] its troops from Iraq because of their heavy losses. Also, the United Nations [should] remove all sanctions from Iraq, so they can import and export their products to rebuild their nation.
Mustanser; Lahore, Pakistan

Our illegal declaration of war on a sovereign nation, without provocation, has created a world where the United States has gone from its role as the world's policeman to an arrogant bully. ... We invented our own bogeyman, initialed WMD. In a post-September 11 world, where our government is not to be questioned, lest we be branded terrorists or, worse, unpatriotic, it would do nicely. ... There are those who say this is another Vietnam. I disagree. I think it will be far, far worse. Our enemies could not have asked for a better recruiting aid than our ham-fisted handling of this war, littering our wake with tens of thousands of innocent dead, wounded and displaced Iraqi citizens.
Mark Sanders; Cary, North Carolina

I would prefer for our military to deal with fanatics who blow themselves up for the sole purpose of killing others to obtain a high position in (hell, oops, heaven), than deal with them five years from now in my hometown.
Frank Torngren; Attleboro, Massachusetts

According to Bush, we are on the right track. What I don't understand is that every time you interview a Republican, all they ever talk about is how bad of a dictator Saddam was and that the world is better off without him. If that's the case, how come we are not helping all the African nations get rid of their dictators? Thanks to Bush and Rumsfeld, [more than 1,730] U.S. soldiers are dead for absolutely no reason. I am sure Bush doesn't care, as long as it is not his kids. As an ex-Marine, I feel for those guys, and I hope they can come home as soon as possible.
Tony; Roseville, California

These are the people who are capable of planning another September 11. We finally have our chance to really fight them, and the American people want to run ... We have a chance to fight to protect our country against the very people who wish to destroy it. It's sad how easily the mass public forgets the lessons of the past ... The war was brought to us, and we took it to them, and now America is showing the world how scared we are. What will it take for us to stand for our freedom? Some are so concerned with the rights of everyone else, they choose to forget the rights of the American people.
Phyl Parsons; Raleigh, North Carolina

No matter how many Iraqis are trained, they will never succeed in containing the violence in their country unless they are given an unlimited supply of arms and ammunition, including Humvees, tanks, trucks, helicopters and fighter planes, plus trained ground and sea support for their deployment. Even with all of the above in the hands of our trained and brave soldiers, the violence in Iraq continues to escalate with no end in sight.
Ira Kennedy; Llano, Texas

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