Letters from our Readers: US occupation leaves Iraq in sketchy shape

My nephew just returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq. President Barack Obama is to be commended for “turning the page” in the combat mission in Iraq, as he said in this week’s speech. However, we have not made Iraq “more secure.” The claim that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” was fiction. The U.S. invasion and seven-year occupation decimated a country and its infrastructure, left its people less secure, produced casualties of thousands of Americans and millions of Iraqis, and still bleeds American taxpayers.

The president’s view that increasing U.S. military force in Afghanistan will achieve peace is mistaken and tragic. The lessons of the “Vietnam Quagmire” should have taught us that each nation and its people yearn to live in peace.

Anh Le, San Francisco

Only private jobs stick

Losing about 122 jobs at the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department should not come as a surprise to anyone. Depending on the federal government to pay municipal employees and create jobs is not sustainable and will not create permanent jobs. Only the private sector can create and maintain well-paying jobs.

For the economy to rebound and create permanent jobs, the private sector requires certainty and the knowledge that government — federal, state and local — will not hinder their growth.

The threat of increased government intervention such as Obamacare, higher taxes and more regulations forces businesses to conserve their resources rather than expand. The only way to end the recession and create permanent jobs is to allow the free market to function.

Howard Epstein, Chairman, Republican Party, San Francisco

Obama’s religion irrelevant

There is absolutely no reason to believe that President Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim, but even if he were, so what? It is contrary to the Constitution to conduct a religious test for public office, including the presidency.

Let’s judge people by what they do, not what they claim to believe. That would be more patriotic and in our nation’s best interest.

Jorg Aadahl, San Mateo

Bring back the WPA

We are in a recession, and now there are stories of a possible upcoming double dip. The city, state and national parks are short of funding and are requesting volunteers to help repair pathways and clean up around rivers and campgrounds. Schools and libraries face the same problem.

Why not bring back the Works Progress Association? FDR put people back to work during the Great Depression, paying them to construct and repair public facilities. Now so many unemployed are being paid for no work at all. Shouldn’t they be expected to do some needed public service?

The WPA worked during the 1930s and it could work now, especially since millions of the jobs currently lost are not coming back. Do some work for the country and get paid as you learn new skills.

Frank Norton, San Francisco

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