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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February 2005, 12:18 GMT
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Your comments on the Exit strategy programme.

Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive, however the e-mails published will reflect the balance of opinion. We may also edit some e-mails for legal reasons and for purposes of clarity and length.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published will be reflective of the balance of opinion received.

The Iraq election should carry all along, it should be about 80-90% of the eligible voters and the interim government should try to convince the Iraqis diplomatically.
Ibrahim, Mubi, Nigeria

I have found the programme "Exit strategy" very interesting and informative about the true situation still being faced by the coalition forces and the Iraqi people in Iraq. I think that coalition forces will need to be in the country for many years before they can be brought home with confidence. The programme showed the great dangers that our troops and, it has to be said, journalists face bringing this reality to our screens on a daily basis. It is good to see the elections being held on time for the Iraqi people to elect a Government to rule them. I do hope that some of the violence shown in the programme and the danger will subside at the result of the election held today. There will have to be an exit strategy, but it must be done with the co-operation of both the Iraqi people and the coalition forces combined to be successful.
Steve Fuller, Hove, East Sussex / England

Exit strategy? Hah you better hurry up before it's too late for your behinds to be kicked out, it's a losing the war for USA and UK... Vietnam will look much better for USA than Iraq.
Gabriel, Chicago, USA

I wonder what kind of democracy will be established in Iraq: Royal like in this country or really democratic? As far as I know "demos" means people.
William Hall, USA

Thank you John Simpson for an excellent program. In my opinion the coalition forces will have to stay in Iraq, until the job is done. Leaving the Iraq government ill prepared, could mean a repeat of another Saddam Hussain in the future.
John Tsigarides, Devon, United Kingdom

As usual from the BBC, a voice of almost unrelenting gloom on a day of great optimism for Iraq - perhaps your mostly pre-recorded programme did not expect/hope for such a relatively peaceful day's voting! May you continue to be wrong!
Stephen Segal, London

Panorama was very clear in showing that the US and to a certain extent, UK has reluctance to leave Iraq. It does not take that long to "train" local military forces because Iraq has this infrastructure already in existence by its own tradition. The fear that Negroponte is still the "ruler" implanted by Bush and the building of 12 American bases indicates the economic interest and greed the US has in Iraq's resources, namely oil. Iraq does not need occupiers any more. Let Iraq take its own destiny in hand following the crossing of the first hurdle of fairly positive outcome of this election.
Zarina Bhatia, Birmingham, UK

If someone had come here or had gone to the United States to tell people to what they have to do, would the British and Americans look at them and listen to what they have to say? It is obvious to feel something for what the Iraqis have felt for the last century and feel that to get what you want it is sometimes more painful than you had thought!
Afrim Haziri, UK

As with the Falklands war this country of ours and the United States does not need enemies when the BBC is reporting event, particularly Panorama. The sooner the broadcasting licence money is taken off the BBC the better it will be for this country.
Mr. A.S.Makin, Hull, E.Yorks. England

The programme was right to discuss the issue of civilian deaths. But why was The Lancet's figure of 100,000 dismissed so out of hand? Could there be a more respectable publication? Jack Straw has a clear political motivation for promoting a lower figure. It was good to see Negroponte put on the spot though. As for John Simpson's claim that the elections are "free and fair", there was no justification provided. How are the hundreds of thousands of people forced from their homes in Falluja supposed to vote? With so many of the Iraqi people effectively disenfranchised, the elections cannot be considered "fair". As for "free", we will have to see what happens if the elections turn up a result that the US and Britain do not want.
Matthew Bain, Derbyshire, UK

Whilst I share and agree with most of your overall analysis, I don't share you optimism that the Americans would simply leave if the "new democratic government" ask them to withdraw their troops. The Americans are planning to have a permanent but less visible presence in Iraq. This is why they are building these huge bases on the outskirt of Baghdad and other towns. These bases are design to act as a replacement for the american bases in Saudi Arabia. They would only leave is if they incur heavy causalities in single day or within a short period of time as happened in Lebanon and Somalia. Time would tell and history will judge, but as you know, history has funny habit of repeating itself when it comes to the United States' intervention in the Arab world.
Yusuf Ali, London

I would be interested to hear John Simpson's view on Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 911 regarding political/financial manipulation by both the United States and Saudi Arabian governments. According to Michael Moore, Saudi Arabia seems to have some financial hold over the US. Maybe this is what some of the "insurgents" are genuinely fighting against in the only way they can. The general public and coalition forces in Iraq may not be as politically aware as the "insurgents"; the British people, in general, seem also to be as unaware of this subterfuge on a worldwide scale. If this is the case, does John Simpson think that true democracy can really exist in Iraq? What is needed in Iraq is honesty and transparency. Trust is essential - at this moment in time there seems to be none.
D Stayt, Witney, UK

I find the following "confusing": The definition of "free and fair" elections by Mr Pearl (US), by John Simpson (UK) and by the present Dr. Allawi, the interim Prime Minister of Iraq. Is history overlooked: the division of the Turkish-Ottoman empire, post-First World War. Same place, same people and same reasons - onto friendly(agreeable to exploitation) locals of today, except that France is patently missing out on the slicing.
Raja Maitra, Dublin, Ireland

It was soul destroying to watch the total devastation of that country. I wept watching all those families destroyed, their young sons killed and homes bulldozed. We went to war to give those people a better life, instead we have killed hundred and thousands of their people and turned the country (Falluja) into ruins. Those people will not have a "better lifeż for years to come.
Sabina Ahmed, Somerset, UK

I would like to think that this report would be transmitted on the American networks and also on the Iraqi networks. John Simpson ended on a optimistic note that, despite all the cock-ups so far, the political process started today will eventually succeed. I hope so.
Stan Unwin, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

Does democracy need to be dictated by army or by a occupying force like in Iraq? To exercise democracy people need to exercise in a free and non-hostile condition. Iraq is no way following the common rules for democracy.
Jabed Hussain, UK

An interesting enough documentary but unfortunately tainted by intermittent editorialising by the BBC which of course takes the simple British establishment line of "Brits and Americans good and democratic, Iraqi insurgents bad and dictatorial". For example, when the "Iraqi insurgent leader" talks about proper freedom and democracy when the invaders leave, Simpson can't resist stating that the type of democracy the insurgent has in mind is a one party state! Strange how the BBC didn't feel the same need to examine the opinions expressed by the likes of Feith and the US military. At least Simpson stated that the resistance is vastly Iraqi, which goes against what the BBC and other corporate media were saying just a year ago (i.e. that it was mostly "foreign" fighters).
Nick, Dublin, Ireland

How is it possible to quantify civilian deaths when any terrorist not actually engaged in shooting at someone becomes a "civilian"?
Richard Crane, Birmingham, England

After watching Exit strategy I was deeply disappointed. I thought it was very biased, I learnt nothing new about the situation in Iraq. It has just been yet another repeat of the BBC showing mostly the destruction of the country rather than anything positive. Also I would like to comment on why you were able to interview a leader of the insurgents when they should be captured? Also, you are forgetting that you are taking advantage of the fact that you are now able to go to Iraq and report this. Under Saddam it may not have been quite this easy. While the Iraqis are optimistic about their future, the BBC conveys a very pessimistic view for the future of Iraq.
Jeyran, England

I agree with Stephen Segal's, London, comment: "As usual from the BBC, a voice of almost unrelenting gloom on a day of great optimism for Iraq" I am sure there are areas in Iraq where, by their own efforts, the Iraqis are able to live a reasonable life now not threatened by Saddam. Let's see some of these areas for once and appreciate and support what these people are doing. Imagine only sending this reporter to London,Birmingham and Coventry in WWII you would imagine Britain had been bombed out of existence,yet the majority of the population were able to enjoy a reasonable life. Let's have some balanced reporting for once.

Consider the insurgents actions: "Fighting for Iraq ?" No Way. They appear to be killing or causing the deaths of possibly more civilians currently than coalition forces plus patriotic Iraqis trying to bring law and order and democracy to their country. When asked when they hope to exit, the coalition forces have to answer "When the job is done". What excuse against world opinion would the coalition forces have for remaining in Iraq if there was no terrorism by these insurgents? No,the terrorists are fighting not for Iraq but for instability and thus gaining their own power.
Derek Ladkin, Essex, UK

As expected, John Simpson's Panorama report from Iraq was balanced and perceptive.The Muslim inbuilt intolerance of not just non-Muslims but of their fellow Muslims, who are not strictly their type of Muslim, make the survival of democracy impossible. The West will get this message eventually, but at a considerable cost.
Hriday Narain, Cambridge, UK

Let's all agree that freedom simply brings hope that the next generation will have more opportunity than the present one. That our children will have a better life than ours. With the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan 50 million more people in this world have hope.
Bob Franklin, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, USA

I read a review of the Lancet article in the Economist. The figure includes any additional deaths due to road crashes. The people behind Iraq Body Count were anti-war, but they base their figures on deaths reported in Iraqi newspapers. You can say what you like about the situation in Iraq, but they now do have at least a free press. Over the past 20 years I have rarely seen Panorama being ahead of the curve on any major issue. There's reports of a 65% turnout for the elections; I cant remember a negative, cynical programme being proven wrong so quickly.
Donald Bane, Glasgow, Scotland

Exit strategy
21 Jan 05 |  Panorama
Timeline: Iraq after Saddam
21 Jan 05 |  Middle East

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