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photos of president bush, explosion, and generals in iraq
What do you take away from this report chronicling four years of tactical and strategic mistakes in Iraq?   Are you hopeful about the 'surge' of new troops - a final effort to secure victory?

Dear FRONTLINE,

What angers me the most is how the incompetence of our political and military leaders has put our soldiers in harms way, besides making a big mess in that part of the world. I thought Frontline's coverage was fair and balanced. It focused on strategy (or lack of it). Viewers are left to make their own decisions.

Sharon Servis
Phillipsburg, NJ

Dear FRONTLINE,

As always you produce quality reporting on any subject matter. It was thorough and comprehensive. The report only verified more deeply for me the incompetency of those who have led us into this war.

My heart aches for the men and women who are in the line of fire when those they trust for leadership do not have their best interests in mind. When it is clear no one seems to have had a clue what the outcome would be in this country so divided by religious factions. Doesn't anyone do research before sending people to die? Not to mention the innocent Iraqi's who live in fear daily. What a commentary on our society who impeached a President for a sexual dalliance in the White House, but overlooks the criminal actions of abuse, lying, ignoring the Consitutional laws, and sending men and women into combat under false information. Wake up Americans!!!!!!

Patricia Roop Robinson
Westminster, MD

Dear FRONTLINE,

In viewing Endgame I was struck by the numbing incompetence of all those involved. Our leaders are historically illiterate and therefore make the exact same mistakes occupying powers have made for two thousand years. Like plodding neophytes, we have failed to grasp the human and cultural elements. An evening spent reading the history of these region would have clearly revealed the inevitable civil war which would occur the minute the Baath party was removed from power. Had we immediately flooded the country end to end with highly trained Arabic speaking police, we might have had a chance, but no such action was contemplated.

The depth of passion among and between the warring factions is totally incomprehensible to our well meaning but clueless leaders. Years of repressed hate, fear, and revenge are running lose in Iraq. This civil war, like all civil wars, will only be resolved when the parties to the conflict grow tried of killing each other or one group extremities the other. These Arabic people do not want our western political ideas and they are deaf to our foolish suggestions on how to get along. We are unwanted aliens in a world we do not understand. Continued killing is unavoidable. We should get out of the way and let this civil war play out. Sadly, the likely result will be the emergence of another strong man who, like Sadam, terrorizes the people into obedience.

In the end we will have achieved nothing because we entered a region without the faintest understanding of the people, the history, and the culture. We sought to impose our dual religions of capitalism and democracy on a people with a rich and deep cultural heritage that neither want nor accept our ideas. Had our leaders read a history book, this tragedy could have been averted.

Scott DeLane
Dallas, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

"Endgame" greatly flatters US policies and intentions in Iraq. It nurtures the idea that the US leaders have a clue about Iraa and that, correcting a few mistakes, can or must prevail. Worst of all, it portrays the "surge" as a "best, last hope," rather than a fresh stupidity that only distracts from deeper stupidities. The film is entirely US-centric and war-cabal centric. Iraqis and people outside the US war establishment don't even count as "extras." "Endgame" relies exclusively on US sources. The interviewees are either pro war or the "loyal sceptics" who give rein to the war and its prolongation, even if they have doubts about the prospects. Why no interviews with qualified Iraqis, such as Ali Allawi, Arabic speaking journalists like A. Shadid, Iraq experts like W. Polk, or independent military thinkers who W. Odom, whose views dare to challenge the groupthink at its very roots. Why do you portray the protagonists as Shakespearian tragic heroes? None will suffer pain, poverty, dismemberment, or disgrace, and none shows any remorse. All will go on to comfortable post 2008 retirement or lofty careers. Most could earn fabulous advance fees for self-flattering memoirs, which will mainly serve to obscure higher lessons to learn from the disaster. Too bad "Endgame" could not have been more "outside the box" in its sources and presentation.

J Koch
W. Orange, NJ

Dear FRONTLINE,

It was interesting to read other viewer's comments. One would think we were watching different programs; much like our individual perceptions of the war itself.Our situation in Iraq is akin to the insect that ventures inside the Trumpet Plant; lured by the nectar (oil), but once inside finds there is no way to retreat.

Doug Tinney
Fremont, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

For as long as I can remember PBS and Frontline, in particular, held a well-deserved reputation for integrity and fairness in reporting political issues that made them targets of right-wing conservative's anger.

Having viewed the PBS series "Nation At A Crossroads" and, last night, the Frontline program "Endgame" I am now left with the conclusion that the right-wing's assault on PBS' journalistic values has been successful

"Crossroads" purported to be a journalistic investigation of the events that produced our current disaster in Iraq and possible choices available to our country at that time. What it was, in fact, was a presentation of right-wing talking-points justifying our invasion of Iraq that, in one episode, included an hour-long propaganda puff-piece filmed by the American Enterprise Institute's notorious "theoretician" Richard Pearle about Richard Pearle, all presented without so much as a mention of the progressive viewpoints regarding the issues addressed. It was, in essence, Bush administration propaganda.

Last night's program "Endgame" purported to discuss the history and possible outcome scenarios of our current situation in Iraq with particular attention to our recent escalation; the so-called "surge". Unfortunately, this program was, again, a one-sided propaganda piece for the right-wing's spokesman and strategist, the ultra-conservative American Enterprise Institute's Frederick Kagan and his military alter-ego Gen. Jack Keane. As an example of the blindfolded approach to the production of this piece of non-journalism I submit the rhetorical question: How can one begin to discuss the Bush administration's decision-making process leading up to the decision to escalate the war and not mention the Iraq Study Group, the national referendum to end U.S. involvement in Iraq, and Bush's refusal to accept either? Obviously, one cannot and still produce an honest overview.

Having learned that most American's memories for news events and facts are now equivalent to that of goldfish PBS and now Frontline have joined with the Bush administration's spin-doctors to provide the public with a salutary, but dishonest, view of their actions in order to justify a history of overt aggression, dishonesty, and greed.

I cannot express how disappointed I am in your loss of integrity.

Rael Nidess, M.D.
Marshall, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Having served on active duty for over 20 years(2005 retired SFC)OIF I Mar-03 to April 04 with 4ID 1st Brigade. And talking to soldiers returning from there 2nd tour with 4ID. I could sense the helplessness they felt as they pursued and executed the missions desribed in this show. What gets me the worst is how Gen Keane who I served under in the 101st, 326th Eng Bn got shelved along with Gen Shinsecki who totally disagreed with Rumsfeld,so he surrounded himself with yes men and virtual unknown generals.

This plan will work because it falls into our biggest strength small unit leadership from Captains to NCO's at all levels who get things done! All of us want peace(except greedy defense contractors)pray for peace especially soldiers who actually are there. WMD was not the only reason to invade Iraq, Iran ring a bell? Syria? and the rising violence in GAZA? Where are our forces now? Is Iran practically surrounded? The ENDGAME is having the ability to project combat power anywhere in the middle east in short order if need be, Once freedom takes root it spreads like the Bubonic plague! Crossing borders, Thats the endgame for all this in my opinion. God Bless all our servicemen and women who walk that walk everyday even when nobodys looking. NCO's make it Happen HOORAH!!!

SFC, USA retired

Kurt Boyd
Luling, TX

Dear FRONTLINE,

Program should have spent more time on events of 2007 and future. Mistakes of past well known to readers of Thomas Ricks' FIASCO, and many other books including those by General Anthony Zinni (a worthy critic who should have been interviewed). Civilian leadership in Washingon has been a complete failure, and the Generals were made to take "Kool Aid." Unfortunately our system doesn't allow the President to do the right thing and resign.

Ricks believes the ending will be a mess and on NPR today estimates we will be in Iraq another 10-15 years. The people never signed on for a long war and will not accept it. Withdrawal ASAP is the only solution. The ending in Iraq will be the same no matter when we leave.

If we had WW II leadership, Iraq would have been resolved in about 6 months. Instead we were stuck with one of the worst Presidents in US history, who had no plan and no clue.

Ted Gotsch
Huntington Beach, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

The constant repetition of words like 'victory' and 'success' and the focus on strategy and tactics obscure the underlying reality - namely that this is a war of aggression against a sovereign nation posing no threat to the U.S.

Why would PBS and Frontline present a piece, almost a work of propaganda, at this late date that attempts to give credibility and legitimacy to what the rest of the world has already concluded is a criminal enterprise? The American people do not need to be educated about the military minutiae and power struggles behind the scenes. The debate needs to focus on what this is about and how it can be stopped. Please do better next time.

Doug Pearl
San Jose, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think all members of Congress should be made to see "End Game" to see the futility of this war in Iraq which Bush has gotten us into.It is sickening and sad

Sam Perlman
Del Mar, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

"Endgame" is an excellent examination of how and why a truncated war plan that contemplated nothing beyond invasion and conquest failed. However, any war plan in 2003 that talked about the likely aftermath of invading a country with decades of intense sectarian and ethnic violence and genocidal tyranny would never have won the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of a rubber-stamp Congress and an angry, scared post-9/11 populace. Our political and military leadership, and most of the rest of America simply closed their eyes and jumped off the cliff!

Unfortunately this sort of leap-now-and-think-later approach is likely going to happen again. When, finally, most, if not all, US military forces leave Iraq I bet there will once again be no coherent or rational strategy in the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, or Congress for what to do next as civil war erupts in Iraq and destabilizes its neighbors.

Steve Brown
Livingston, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Excellent report, but I found it incomplete, as the story begins with the devastation of the United States Army, Navy and Marine Corps prior to 911 by previous Administrations showing a strong distaste for the Military in general, and found that cutting the amount of forces and equipment was one way to lead to a balanced budget for politcal reasons.

This same angst over things military spread to the CIA and thus completed the picture of a compromised military in strength and equipment, intelligence gathering and LEADERSHIP. Experienced leadership chose retirement and left us with the likes of Franks and Casey in-charge. Lots of responsibility, very little talent.

Growing, in the background of World War II, were the Jihad, the right wing extremists of the Muslim world. We knew in 1948 that this should have been addressed, but we walked away and it festered until the event of 9/11. These Jihadists must be handled/contained as their philosophy impinges upon the rights and liberties of others. Shariah Law seems incompatible with current lifestyles even within the Middle Eastern countries themselves. They are therefore rebels (defn: A person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority).

As a country, the United States left these situations alone as much as possible until the Jihadists exported their dislike/hate of all other cultures that culminated in the 9/11 attacks on American soil. It was this attack, coupled with other attacks done earlier that cast the fate of the war we see now. Regardless of the mismanagement of the Iraq War, it will continue in some form until we find a way to quell the radical Muslim.

Joe Caulfield
Phoenix, Arizona

Dear FRONTLINE,

If the US still doesnt have enough troops to hold Baghdad, one would hope other countries in the region could be persuaded to assist. Without assistance and man power the c-h-r strategy is doomed.

The Art of War so eloquently states --- Bring overwhelming force to battle --- maybe mr rumsfeld forgot to read that?

bpl

Brian Linkfield
portland , oregon

Dear FRONTLINE,

Well, once again, the truth comes out slowly but surely. The Washighton's finest are begining to realize the reality that the rest of us and the world at large has intuitively known for a long time: that this war in Iraq is a "continental tragedy" and the repercussion of which we will feel for decades to come. Nonetheless, this program would have been more powerful, if you had incorporated real descenting voices both from within and outside of the establishment. That would have sent the message home that there are viable alternatives to this sorry saga and that it does not necessarily have to end in tragedy. You have your heart in the the right place, but you need to be more daring and think outside of the box to make your presentation of the Iraq issue informative in a meanningful way. The "endgame" here should be to invokes analytical discourse among the population at large, which has sadly been left out of the equation in the past five years.

Mesfin Felleke
Denver, Colorado

Dear FRONTLINE,

End Game was on point... it tells us of the insurgency and the power play to get more troops and positioned to control smaller areas of conflict. This is now a war against the insurgency, its a country divided and its going to be a slaughter if we pull out anytime soon. It was a good report but you need more input from soldiers on the ground who drive and walk the streets everyday if you want to know exactly how it is to fight this insurgency for a better Iraq.

Jonathan Snodgrass
Dover, NH

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posted june 19, 2007

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