To the editor:

Re: Our Moral Obligation to the Iraqis

The letter by Bob Hickey (“Our moral obligation to the Iraqis”) cannot be allowed to go unanswered. I successfully ignored his original letter weeks ago where he praised George Bush’s commander-in-chief skills in the “war on terror,” but, being a responsible American citizen, I am compelled to set the story straight. Where to begin…

How did we come to be in Iraq? Well, our president told us that Sadaam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and because he was pals with Osama bin Laden, he would provide terrorists with these weapons to attack America. Americans with short attention spans were reminded just how bad Saddam was, after all, he gassed his own people. (We were not reminded that we provided Saddam with the poisonous gas and the fact that we ignored this mass murder because Saddam was our friend at the time.) Our president had a bad habit of mentioning Saddam Hussein every time he brought up the 9-11 terrorist attacks on our country. It didn’t take long for people to mix up Saddam and Osama. Even today, a large percentage of our people think that Saddam had something to do with 9-11.

Some people were astounded when our military, hot on the trail of Osama bin Laden, made a big u-turn in Afghanistan and headed to Iraq. Others watched “American Idol” and left war strategy to GWB. And the rest is history.

Today, we are spending $12 billion a week on killing. According to estimates by Doctors Without Borders, more than 500,000 people have died in Iraq since we invaded. Close to 4,000 of our own sons and daughters have perished there and triple that number suffer from life-changing wounds and/or serious mental disorders.

What do we have to show for our efforts? Osama is still free, out in the world. The Iraqi government is on a month-long vacation while our troops suffer in temperatures upwards of 120 degrees, fighting in a civil war, unable to determine friend from foe. Everyday we borrow more from China and Japan to pay for the war, trillions of dollars — our debt is so large that it threatens our security more than any terrorist could. We’ve lost our credibility as the “good guy” as we create a whole new population of people who hate us.

Bob Hickey thinks it’s commendable that that we are not standing by and “watching wholesale killing and dismissing it as none of our business.” He repeats the mind-boggling mantra that we need to fight the enemy at its source so as not to have to fight them here.

Word to the wise, Bob, Saddam is dead; Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — a myth. The Iraqi people had free elections. Our military is broken. Our country is bankrupt. It’s time to stop digging.

Sheila Richardson