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Let Iraqis decideA wonderfully moderate suggestion appeared on April 26 but evoked little comment. America should offer to abide by an Iraqi referendum on continuing our military presence.

Please consider the merits of his basic idea before considering looking up the column. The idea is what's important, not the person's orientation or even his rationale.

Downside: Implementing the proposal would require the goodwill of all involved.

The administration and Congress would have to solemnly pledge their adherence, the violence-prone Iraqi factions would have to permit truly free elections, and the most demonstrative disappointed flag-wavers or anti-administration marchers would have to accept the result with the good grace of silence. Upside: The discouragingly undiscriminating 200-word limit allows me to say only that a vote of confidence would strengthen America's public relations, diplomatic and moral position significantly.

And a thumbs-down decision would let us depart with as much dignity as possible at this less-than-hopeful point in a more-than-frustrating undertaking.

We can be proud of having toppled a truly barbaric regime and providing Iraqis with a chance for meaningful self-determination, even democracy.

Given the degree of opposition, the unpleasant military realities and our other domestic and foreign responsibilities, either outcome would be an improvement. &

8212; Martin Seim, Medford

Ignoring Bush's crimesClinton lied about sex, and got impeached by the media and Congress. Now the media and Congress are wilfully ignoring the high crimes and misdemeanors of this president.

Bush got us into war based on lies that he knew were lies and has created more al-Qaida members than imaginable. Yet no one in the media or Congress is calling for his impeachment?

The similarities between Bush's policies on terrorism and the "1984" authoritarian society of George Orwell are more relevant now than ever. It's about continuous warfare as a means to control the economy and the rebel elements within society through the use of fear, constant fear.

My country under Bush is sanctioning the jailing of innocent people without trial or telling anyone and torturing them on the suspicion of what they might do.

Orwell's bleak classic is based on a futuristic society where the government, "Big Brother," spies on every move of its citizens and tortures them on suspicion of dissent.

This could never happen in a country with a free press intent on questioning those in power; unfortunately in America we haven't had that kind of press for years and we are now paying the price. &

8212; Leon Guillotte, Williams