Letter to Roanoke Times (unpublished):

Dear Editor:

Re: U.S. Forces out of Iraq

It is unbelievable the lack of imagination in the various statements made by political leaders and news organizations that the U.S. has no choice but for its armed forces to stay in Iraq for an indefinite time.

It doesn't take great intellect to imagine the Muslim countries of the world, helped by the United Nations and the U.S., putting together a peace-keeping force to replace incrementally, but quickly, U.S. troops in Iraq. It just takes rational leadership to realize that the longer the U.S. is in Iraq the more terrorists will be trained there to expel the U.S. foreigners and the more innocent victims will die. Having Muslim soldiers there instead of U.S. soldiers would greatly decrease the hatred of Muslims world wide toward the U.S., and Muslim forces probably would be more effective in pacifying the country. And the new hordes of terrorists will spread around the world eventually to put their training into practice, similar to what happened in London last week.

A great leader would ask the Muslim countries to come together under United Nations leadership and U.S. and U.N. financing to put together such a peace-keeping force. The U.S. could deposit with the U.N. the same amount of funds that would have been spent to maintain U.S. forces that are moved out for a definite time.

I know that many will say that corruption in the U.N. and the leadership of Muslim countries would soak up much of the U.S. funds. Well, what do they think that Haliburton and other U.S. companies have been doing with the billions that has been given to them without competition and oversight? It is well known that corruption is wide spread among those companies and that very little has been accomplished effectively with those funds except to build U.S. bases. People behave basically the same when they have control of funds without oversight, whether they are U.S. citizens or are from other countries. The U.N. now appears ready to increase greatly the oversight of funds it disperses.

Let's have some imagination, not just "stay the course."

L. David Roper