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CONGRESS MUST INITIATE DEBATE ON IRAQ AND TRY TO END THE WAR

Many Americans are concerned about the continuing violence in Iraq. At last count, 1,542 Americans and thousands of Iraqi civilians had died. According to some news reports, congressional staff from both parties are gradually opening to a discussion of U.S. policy on Iraq.

Shifting the debate to include a strategy for ending the violence, putting Iraqis in charge and withdrawing troops should take precedence over troop strengths and more weapons. Stating that withdrawal is being considered is the first step in assuring the Iraqis and the world that we are serious.

In the coming weeks, the Senate will begin debate on President Bush's request for supplemental funds to support the war and occupation in Iraq. The Senate needs to attach language to the funding request to shift the debate toward a declaration that the United States has no imperial interests in Iraq.

As Americans, we are all complicit in varying degrees by not speaking out about our concerns because we have that opportunity as privileged citizens in a free society. The Bush administration has forcefully opposed any attempt to open up a debate on policy toward Iraq in Congress. It is time to change that policy.

Judith M. Metzger

Williamsville