Open Letter to President George W. Bush

Mr. President:

I have a question regarding our mission in Iraq on this Memorial Day weekend—

What is it? Can you define it?

Are we there to "win the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people in order for them to embrace democracy? Or, are we there to "search and destroy" militant Islamic fundamentalists?

If your answer is, "Both at the same time," then I ask you to consider how this strategy served us in Vietnam.

I submit that we must first have a declared strategic policy for Iraq, and that our military tactics should be based upon upon that declared strategy.

Like most Americans, I want our armed forces to succeed and come home.

So seriously: What is our primary strategy? Is it to encourage moderate Muslims to stand against radical fundamentalists? Or is it to take it upon ourselves to root out and destroy radical Islamic fundamentalists? And what is the consequence of not declaring a strategy?

Given that more than 1,600 American troops have died there, that at least 12,000 have been seriously wounded and that upward of $300 Billion are being borrowed for this effort— I submit that this is an appropriate question that deserves an answer.

Robert Millman

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This story was published on May 30, 2005.