Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Why the President should meet with Cindy

George Foster - August 25th, 2005
Certainly, you believe Cindy Sheehan must be one brave woman for her recent confrontation in Crawford, Texas with the most powerful man on earth: George W. Bush. Or maybe you think her actions are akin to traitorous in the scathing verbal attacks she has levied on the policies and motives of a president while at war.
Tragically, Ms. Sheehan’s son is one of almost 2,000 American lives that have been lost in the Iraq conflict since 2003. Though Bush met with her immediately after her son’s death, she says she decided to demand another meeting when hearing President Bush say that our troops have died for a noble cause. “What is that noble cause my son was sacrificed for?” she reportedly has asked.
Sheehan had to know she would be subjected to personal attacks when she parked herself next to the President’s ranch until he agreed to meet with her. She had to know it is unlikely Bush would arrange a meeting since his administration is notorious for being ultra-insulated. What she couldn’t have bargained for was her resulting international celebrity status, the beginning of an emotional debate on the war in Iraq that had been relatively muted, and supportive anti-war groups popping up all over the U.S.
However you feel about Cindy Sheehan and George W. Bush, the President has no obligation to meet with her, again. Obviously, he can’t meet with everyone who makes such requests - even the first time around. The real issue, though, is what is the BEST response by our leader under these circumstances - a divided America in a war that seems subject to escalating violence by the day.
By contrast, Bill Clinton was never afraid of being trapped in a room with his adversaries. For example, you may remember that the former president had a meeting with hostile family members of Somalia War soldiers killed in the 1990’s. Some of that criticism of Clinton to his face was severe but he dealt with it like a man.
Can anyone imagine Ronald Reagan avoiding a mother who lost a son in battle, critic or not - especially if the war was initially waged on his watch. These presidents did not automatically run from their detractors, but often attempted to win them over with the convictions of their beliefs. A meeting between Bush and Sheehan might even go a long way toward healing the division in our country that the Iraqi conflict has inflamed.
Even though Ms. Sheehan left Crawford today (8/19/05) for an illness in her family, the damage has been done. As a result of refusing to meet with Sheehan, Bush has turned his five-week retreat in Crawford, Texas into a political nightmare for Republicans and the war effort. Before Sheehan’s camp-out, the mounting statistics of deaths in Iraq were just that for most of us: statistics. Sheehan’s vigil has put some human faces on the numbers - a grieving, angry mother and her deceased son, Casey.
Reports of our vacationing President clearing brush on the ranch, setting up cycling outings with celebrities and friends, all between high-speed fund-raising trips past the commemorative grave markers placed by protestors are a public relations disaster for the administration and our country’s image as a whole. And these problems might be small compared to the potential backlash our war effort would suffer if military families begin to take exception to relentless attacks against the character of a grieving military mother.
That is why the President should meet with Cindy Sheehan. If Mr. Bush made good on his promise to “be a uniter, not a divider”, Cindy Sheehan and others might stay home in support of their mourning families where they belong.




 
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