Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Time to get real on Iraq

George Foster - June 30th, 2005
Surely, we can’t be the idiots our government officials think we are.
CNN’s recent interview with Dick Cheney was jarring in the utter absence of reality on the subject of Iraq from the vice-president. His insistence that the insurgency in Iraq is in its last throes, proved once again how cavalier guys in the White House tend to become. How many times during this conflict have we heard that terrorists are now spiking up the violence in Iraq because they are on their last legs and democracy is breaking out all over the land?
We were fed that same nonsense by the administration soon after the original invasion into Iraq two years ago. We heard White House officials mention “insurgency desperation” before the Iraqi election five months ago. Now we are to believe that the terrorists are really desperate this time around?
Let’s face it, the only desperation the murderers who are blowing up everything in sight (including themselves) will feel for some time is to be the first in line to kill Americans and Iraqis they see as our collaborators.
Even General John Abizaid, the leading U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf, contradicted the vice-president when he stated recently that the insurgency in Iraq is at least as strong as it was six months ago. Also, he added that more foreign fighters were entering Iraq than six months ago.
The most incredible statement from the vice-president’s interview might be that Iraq “will be an enormous success story.” Obviously, our government officials need to keep a positive outlook for the sake of our troops and the country’s morale in time of war. Yet, if the violence miraculously disappeared overnight, and our troops came home tomorrow - this debacle could never be considered “an enormous success.”
Has Mr. Cheney considered that 100,000 innocent Iraqi bystanders may have died in the crossfire over the last two years? Has he forgotten that $230 billion of U.S. taxes has been poured into Iraq so far? It can’t be lost on the vice-president that over 1500 U.S. troops have given their lives to topple one incompetent, madman dictator, Saddam Hussein. By any measure, the American intervention into Iraq is well past any possibility of being deemed “an enormous success.”
As our country’s support for the war effort erodes, even congressional supporters of President Bush such as Chuck Hegal and Lindsay Graham have questioned the government’s strategy in Iraq. Some Republican allies of the administration have called for a timetable from the Defense Department to get out of Iraq.
Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld do make sense on this: we can’t leave now nor does it make any sense to publicize a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal. The resulting civil war in the Middle East to fill the vacuum of our immediate withdrawal could cause world anarchy and maybe millions more deaths. When it is time for our soldiers to leave, just get the hell out. Our enemies don’t need to know in advance.
Somehow, we need to get the job in Iraq done together. Currently, the polls in this country show less than 40% support our handling of the war. I guarantee that percentage would skyrocket upward if President Bush just leveled with the American people that our current strategy in Iraq has not worked and we need to close ranks in order to fix it.
Of course there are some good things going on in Iraq, but overall it is quagmire with no end in sight. Why not state the obvious (we have a problem, Houston), lay out a comprehensive plan to accelerate installation of security forces from other countries into the peacekeeping effort, and give our soldiers hope that they will be coming home sometime, soon.
Is that too much to ask?

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