Are our soldiers dying in vain? Reading "Staying the course" (Oct. 8, Page A-1), we can see the anguish of family and friends of soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq, believing their sons and daughters have "died in vain" if we quit this war. Nothing is further from the truth. Our military men and women are serving from love of country and a sense of patriotism, a commitment to duty and to personal and national honor. Any soldier fighting for such reasons has served with honor and has not died in vain. Nothing can diminish the integrity of their actions. Saying they "died (or were wounded) in vain" if the U.S. does not "win" is as false as saying Enron employees "worked in vain" or voters whose candidate lost have "voted in vain."
One can honor the dead and wounded soldiers, and those more fortunate, for their commitment to duty and valor, but also support the withdrawal from Iraq. It is not the soldiers' fault that they -- and we -- were lied to about the reasons for this war; that the disasters in planning and execution by the Bush administration caused us to become engaged in a quagmire.
It is honorable, patriotic and respectful of our military to support the withdrawal from a war that was a blunder. Supporting the Bush administration's continued folly is not the same as supporting the values embedded in our Constitution. There are principled economic, social and moral reasons to ask for an end to this war. To do so honors the dead and wounded in spite of our leaders' failures.
ALEXANDER N. BRITTAIN