While it is commendable that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates weeps for his dead soldiers ("Gates showing job's toll at end," June 20), his tears are nothing compared to the millions shed by families, and let us not forget the children weeping here and abroad, since the United States went to war in late 2001.

If Dick Cheney had not wanted to invade Iraq already by the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, and George W. Bush and Barack Obama had glanced at a few history books and thought about Afghanistan in connection with the experiences of Britain, Russia, and even the U.S. there during the last century, perhaps Mr. Gates and the rest of us who grieve would not be weeping now.

Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, Towson