A September 2000 agenda prepared by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush and Wolfowitz anticipating a Bush presidential victory was uncovered and reported by the London Sunday Herald last fall. Iraq’s regime change was a top priority.

Development of a Mideast plan has been credited to the conservative “think tanks” that provided many top-level administration members, a transformation of the Middle East into secular, democratic, free-enterprise societies would serve U.S. interest, as they perceived it.

The president announced this aim in his Feb. 26 speech to the American Enterprise Institute, noting that Iraq’s post-war regime would be an “…inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.”

These nations, created after World War I when the victorious allies carved up the defeated Ottoman Empire, are a melange of Muslims, Kurds, Druse, Christians, Nestorians, Baath and many clans and tribes. Political stability has been precarious and successors to British- and French-appointed rulers were often provided by coups, assassinations, civil wars, etc.

Islamic law in varying degrees continued to be observed, though the caliphate had died out. There has been no instance of really representative government except in our ally, Turkey.

After the coalition victory the indigenous groups and returning exiles will demand recognition and some measure of power in post-war Iraq.

Implementation of the Bush plan means years, perhaps decades, of U.S. commitment. It’s the president’s obligation to tell us honestly its costs. For this is the real reason we’re fighting this war.

Dorothy E. Prince, Auburn

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