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With the remaining term of the George W. Bush administration getting shorter by the week, I would like to ask a simple question as a pure political amateur, hoping that the comments of some wise pro — a Democrat, Republican or other — could enlighten me and other amateurs a bit.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq under Bush began in March 2003. Today people, both military and nonmilitary, are still being killed with no end of the tragedy yet in sight. Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been dead for some time. So the question that keeps popping into mind is, has Saddam’s life been worth the thousands of American and Iraqi lives lost so far?

Americans are now engaged in the 2008 presidential election. Before they cast their ballots in November, I hope they will stop to ponder whether there was any other way to have avoided the Iraq tragedy, and that they will send a person of better judgment to the White House this time.

takeru toki