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Letter to the editor
     published by the Newark Star-Ledger, October 5, 2003

The U.S.–U.N. confrontation over Iraq

France’s president Jacques Chirac has advised us to end our occupation of Iraq in a matter of months. Your editorial (“Still no compromise,” Sept. 24) denounces him as anti-American. But maybe he is a friend giving us better advice than we want to hear.

What would happen if the United States were occupied by Iraqi soldiers? Imagine the Iraqis had come to overthrow a dictatorship. Imagine the majority of Americans approved of their doing it. Just the same, our most spirited young people would grab every opportunity to ambush the occupying soldiers. Few Americans would cooperate with the occupiers. Only fools and traitors would betray their attackers. The mayhem would continue until the Iraqis withdrew, one way or the other.

In 1965, Americans believed we had to stay in South Vietnam to prevent a communist takeover. The communist takesover when we finally left in 1975 was indeed a tragedy for the Vietnamese. But the 10 years we stayed there only increased the tragedy, for tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Vietnamese.

Glenn Shafer, Newark

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