Letters

Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

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Slogging through the Iraqi quagmire

George Foster - August 23rd, 2007
Just when we think it can’t any get worse, the single, most deadly attack since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq hits us in the gut.
A staggering death toll of at least 400 civilians and many more wounded, resulted from explosive-filled garbage trucks flattening a village, recently. The Bush administration has characterized that attack as al Qaeda’s bid to break America’s will in Iraq.
Does anyone over ten years old really believe that Iraqi insurgents continue to kill innocent women and children primarily to affect U.S. public opinion? Iraq is in the midst of a civil war - Iraqis on Iraqis. Even Colin Powell and other Republican military experts say that Iraq has spiraled into civil war.
In other words, our soldiers have been given the near impossible task of refereeing in the crossfire of Shiites killing Sunnis, killing Kurds, killing...
It is true, though, that there is a presence of foreign fighters in Iraq that continues to cause more than their share of havoc. Militants coming from outside Iraq tend to do much of the suicide bombing. Yet foreign-born terrorists are thought to be no more than 10% of all insurgents now in Iraq, compared to at least 90% home-grown Iraqi militants.
The foreign fighters must be mostly from neighboring Iran, you say? Think again.
While the Bush Administration rails on about how Syria and Iran are supporting the chaos in Iraq (and they are), the U.S. military’s own figures show that 45% of all foreign fighters entering Iraq with the intention of killing American and Iraqi security forces come from Saudi Arabia. Iran and Syria provide only about 15% each. In addition, about half of all foreigners that we hold in Iraqi prisons are Saudis - by far the greatest number from any country.
No one ever talks about the flood of terrorists coming into Iraq from Saudi Arabia. Who mentions the millions in funding for Sunni insurgents from private Saudi citizens that the Iraq Study Group reported? Most unbelievably, no one even seems to care that Saudi Arabia was home to 15 of the 19 terrorists who attacked us on 9/11/01. None of the hijackers were from Iraq, Iran, or Syria.
So why is our government labeling everyone but Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organization? Oh, how could I forget? The U.S. is preparing to sell another $20 billion in military arms to the Saudis while we purchase at least that amount from them in oil each year.
In private, even Dick Cheney is becoming frustrated with his Saudi “friends.” Apparently, during his trip to Riyahd in May, the vice president quietly put pressure on Saudi officials to stem the flow of Saudi militants into Iraq. Shiite Iraqi officials have long complained of Saudi Arabian support for Sunni insurgents in Iraq that kill us, and claim Cheney’s appeal has been ignored. And Senator Joe Lieberman wants to attack Iran, next?
I don’t care whether you agreed with our original invasion of Iraq or not. The issue is how do we get out of this mess as soon as possible.
Several politicians, most notably Senator John McCain, think we need at least 100,000 more American soldiers in Iraq. The recent military surge, favored by the Bush administration, added about 30,000 U.S. troops and is said to have resulted in some progress on the ground in Iraq (thousands of recent Iraqi victims of attacks might disagree). The bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommendations, if enacted, would have begun a drawdown of U.S. troops early in 2008.
If you ask the Iraqis what to do, most want us out. Polls even show that over 70% of Iraqis support attacks on American soldiers. In studies of U.S. public opinion, 60% of Americans think we should come home immediately or within a year. Less than half of Americans now believe the war in Iraq is even winnable.
Maybe the most revealing solution to the war was attributed to political satirist Mark Russell. We can’t leave Iraq, he says, because Iraq would be over-run by Iraqis.
 
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