Dear President Bush,

I would really like to believe in your new plan to surge the troops in Iraq. No, I didn’t vote for you. And yes, I have not agreed with many of your policies.  Still…to me you are like Santa Claus because you are capable of bringing great things to this country and the world – but instead all we got was this lump of coal.

I know I am just a naïve thing who doesn’t have all the facts you do. And I admit to making many mistakes in my life. (I believe you recently apologized for mistakes that were made and am thinking some of those might have been mine. Thank you for that.) But there are just a few basic things that confuse me.

Let’s take Afghanistan. We hear reports that the Taliban are regrouping and may be planning a major offensive in Spring. If we emerge “victorious” by pushing them back at that time, what will keep them from doing this ad infinitum until they succeed? They won’t stop. Why should they? It’s not like they are going to a corporate job every day and will get distracted by other stuff. It’s their lifelong mission. As for each time they do manage to gain a foothold, might there not be some underlying reasons that they are able to so? Issues like poverty and lack of hope and non-Western traditions & beliefs and historical loyalty to certain factions? The pressing need for solutions opens a door to fundamentalism. Are we addressing things like that? Do we have enough resources to do so with our attention focused on Iraq?

And what about Iraq? Again, no matter what we accomplish with this troop surge – and let’s assume we make some headway – there is no timeline to defending one’s country from outside influence. And there is no timeline for fighting for what one deeply believes is right.  Whether today or tomorrow, there is going to be civil war to one degree or another. Tragically, it almost has to happen at this point to let the country find its balance. We broke it, but they have to fix it themselves. As long as we stay there, we are only bolstering an unnatural balance and delaying the inevitable.

And while we are at it, why are we comfortable with a government that so clearly favors the Shia religion over others and has possibly closed its eyes to revenge against the Sunnis, formerly in power under Saddam Hussein? Not only does this make it hard to find a peaceful balance, but Iran is a Shī‘a Islam nation. Didn’t you say they have evil intentions toward us and the rest of the world? Then why are we helping to create Iraq in the image they would prefer and that might be most useful to them?

I know, Santa, that coal is a precious commodity (as well as a source of some really awesome pollution), but instead of this lump of coal you left for us, couldn’t we go back to the elves and see what else they have back at the North Pole?  I realize there is much I don’t understand, but I am betting that if you asked them nicely to get together and come up with a plan, it would be better than this one. In fact, there are some elves named Baker and Hamilton whom I am sure would be happy to help.  Again.

Yours Truly,

Virginia