I respect retired Gen. P.X. Kelley, and I do not doubt his sincerity [letters, Nov. 22]. However, the Beirut Marine barracks bombing of 1983 and the issue of withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq are not analogous.
If the barracks bombing was the result of letting the enemy know when we planned to pull out, how does Gen. Kelley explain the dozens of terrorist bombings and attacks that have occurred in recent years, including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks?
He pointed out that Osama bin Laden has called on every Muslim to kill Americans and plunder their possessions. Al Qaeda terrorists have already killed Americans in New York, Washington and Baghdad, among other places, and on the USS Cole. So how does it increase their vulnerability to announce when the troops will be leaving Iraq?
Gen. Kelley also did not note that one of Osama bin Laden's ultimate goals is to bankrupt the United States, just as he tried to bankrupt the Soviet Union by supporting rebels in Afghanistan who were fighting Soviet forces.
We need to take our combat forces out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan and Pakistan to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden and his gang of terrorists and destroy their possessions. Granted, al Qaeda terrorists are in Iraq, but they went there because of our military presence. And now our troops are sitting ducks. We need to go after Osama bin Laden and his thugs where they are hiding.
JOHN W. WHITWORTH