In his address at the Army War College, President Bush did not lay out a new course for U.S. involvement in Iraq. Instead, he continued to promote a policy that ensures U.S. military, economic and, by implication, political supremacy there for an indefinite period.

It would be far better if he had announced a plan with these five points:

1. An appeal to the international community to take over the difficult task of Iraq's political and economic reconstruction.

2. A pledge that all U.S. political, economic and military personnel in Iraq are to be withdrawn as quickly as they can be replaced by other national and international forces.

3. A promise to transfer responsibility for guiding Iraqi reconstruction to an international body (such as the United Nations or European Union).

4. A date for the final withdrawal of U.S. personnel and economic interests from Iraq.

5. A pledge to fund the internationally headed reconstruction of Iraq to the extent that the United States would have funded its own activities.


Falls Church

The writer is a member of the governing board of Pax Christi Metro D.C. and a regional representative of the Catholic peace group.


Regarding the news analysis of the president's speech ["A Speech Meant to Rally Public Support Doesn't Answer Key Questions," May 25]:

Phrases such as the president's having "waxed eloquent" and "the president's soothing recitation" carried a general tone of sarcasm that I find dishonorable.

We are at war. I have lived long enough to remember the need during war to encourage people's hopes and vision as well as to generate support for those doing their best to lead us.

Our president did his best to provide answers where there are answers and to provide hope and vision where answers are not fully attainable.

Of course, the Democrats are going to be critical. That's how they see their job. But The Post's analysis should not reflect their mind-set. A presentation of the facts surely should have had a more neutral tone.


Toledo, Ore.


I am puzzled by George Bush's plan [front page, May 25] to raze Abu Ghraib prison and then have the United States pay to build a new one.

How as a taxpayer am I supposed to be happy about Mr. Bush committing even more money to a country that we pay to destroy and then pay to rebuild? And tearing down Abu Ghraib will not right the wrong some of our troops did there.




The prison at Abu Ghraib is a powerful symbol of Saddam Hussein's tyranny and of the pitfalls of war. The move by some members of Congress and President Bush to demolish it would eliminate a landmark that tells compelling stories of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime and the abuse of Iraqi detainees by Americans.

Historic sites around the world tell of moments to be proud of as well as times many would like to forget. Europe's concentration camps and America's Japanese internment camps serve as significant reminders of times our humanity failed. The decision to demolish the prison should not originate with American politicians and spin doctors; it should rest solely with the Iraqi people.


Silver Spring