Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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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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