Letters

Letters 08-01-2016

Voter Suppression And Choice In 2013, five Supreme Court justices, each appointed by Republican presidents, knocked the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately a majority of Republican-dominated states began passing laws aimed at suppressing the votes of their majority Democrat demographics: minorities, students and the elderly. These laws – requiring voter IDs, cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, closing selected polling places, banning straight-ticket voting, etc. — never flat-out deny a person’s right to vote; they just make actual registering and voting more difficult, and therefore make it more likely that individuals in certain groups will not vote. Think of voter suppression as a kind of reverse marketing strategy, one aimed at getting people not to do something...

Free Parking Patrick Sullivan’s good story on parking overlooked one source of “free parking” that has become an increasing problem in Traverse City: spill-over into adjacent neighborhoods. Instead of discouraging people from bringing cars downtown, we’re allowing them to park on both sides of narrow residential streets all day long...

Real American Duality Isiah Smith didn’t really put his deep thinking hat on before writing the “American Duality” commentary. First there’s geography. His daughter feels safer in Sweden than in the United States, at least partially because of the violence in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Really? Safer than in northern Michigan, which is further away from Dallas and Baton Rouge than Stockholm is from Ansbach, Paris or Brussels and no closer to Minnesota than Sweden is to Germany? Did Smith miss recent supremely violent events in those places? Alrighty then...

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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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