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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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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