Former senator Bob Dole [op-ed, June 28] rightly reminds us that the future of Iraq is not set in stone. While the occupation often seemed grim and mishandled, people from around the world are striving for a peaceful and free Iraq. Perhaps years from now the wisdom of this decision (or lack thereof) will be clear.

Mr. Dole missed the point, however, with his accusation of selective amnesia among outspoken Democrats. Before the war, the administration argued that weapons of mass destruction, terrorist connections and replacing Saddam Hussein's regime with a democratic government justified our intervention. All of these pillars have proven shaky at best.

Since President Bush's presentation of the casus belli, those who originally backed the war have had several occasions to question that decision. They trusted their commander in chief to lead U.S. troops for a necessary and noble purpose. The administration's weak case for invasion, insufficient planning for occupation and playing down absent weapons of mass destruction lead one to question who is really guilty of "irresponsible hindsight."

MARK DUBOIS

Durham, N.C.

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Bob Dole's comments were not inaccurate, just misplaced. The question has been not what we would achieve but how much it would cost. Could those understated costs not have been better spent protecting human rights in Sudan or better served by restoring the elected leader in Myanmar?

These are the questions by which history will judge the decisions of this administration.

AVI ALPERT

Silver Spring