Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

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Random Thoughts

George Foster - May 13th, 2004
The stain on America

There is no way to sugarcoat it.
The film footage of U.S. military personnel mistreating Iraqi prisoners is indefensible, the worst and most ill-timed black eye against our country in history. Without weapons of mass destruction and connections to al Qaeda to justify our venture into Iraq, the “high, moral ground” was all we had left.
Did anyone else find it ironic that initial stories surrounding American Thomas Hamill’s escape from his terrorist abductors in Iraq are reporting that Hamill was treated well in captivity? I shudder to think of the consequences for future Americans abducted on the heels of film footage showing us humiliating and abusing Iraqis. Bottom line, Americans abroad are now more vulnerable to mistreatment, themselves.
Several investigations must take their course before we can come to any final conclusions. Regardless, the fallout from these abhorrent acts will affect our image and safety in the world for the rest of our lives. Heads had better roll from legitimate U.S. investigations into this scandal or the world will be justified in believing Americans don’t practice what they preach.
Some apologists have maintained, “Saddam Hussein murdered thousands of Iraqis in those same prisons, so where was the indignation when he abused Iraqis?” That may be true, but since when are our standards of behavior measured against criminal dictators? We should be outraged if only one incident of mistreatment had occurred.
It goes without saying, as our leaders continue to recite, the abuse and torture of prisoners is not what America is all about. We also know something else: don’t be blaming everything on ordinary soldiers. 99% of our military personnel are doing a great job under incredibly stressful circumstances. Such alleged abuse of prisoners can only be a result of a supervised and systematic policy to extract information from prisoners or even worse – to humiliate Iraqis because of cultural or religious differences.
How do we know mistreatment must have come from higher-ups on the chain of command? (1) Unrepentant prison personnel were brazenly laughing while being filmed with prisoners during abusive acts. (2) General Janis Karpinski, formerly in command of Baghdad’s Abu Ghurayb prison, pointed out that intelligence officers controlled the cell blocks where abusive acts against prisoners occurred during interrogation. (3) The sheer number of allegations presented to date from various prisons indicates that reported abuses weren’t isolated incidents. Up to 14 deaths of Iraqi prisoners are under investigation by some media accounts. Additionally, film footage of Iraqis being raped and murdered is rumored to exist.
This investigation will not stop with the court martial of six or seven foot soldiers without the taint of a cover-up. The real question is how high in the ranks does the responsibility for the abuse rise? There will be no G. Gordon Liddy or Oliver North to take the fall for superiors (no one is going to admit authorizing these kinds of barbarous acts unless true). Our democratic system does work - an independent investigation will find the person(s) most responsible the abuse. And, most likely, President Bush will fire Donald Rumsfeld by the time you have a chance to read this article.
Why Rumsfeld, you ask? After all, he didn’t torture anyone. As the Secretary of Defense, he is in charge of the Pentagon and must bear responsibility if unable to control subordinate commanders and the widespread criminal behavior of prison personnel. Ignorance is not an excuse.
If George Bush is the leader I think he is, at the very least he will promote an independent investigation and relieve the secretary of his military duties. The president needs to act boldly and promptly to show the rest of the world that abusive behavior against prisoners is inexcusable and those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.
By the time you read this, Rumsfeld will be history, the prison investigations will be driving at the truth, and we can move on toward regaining our respect as a nation. At least, I hope so.
 
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