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...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · If the shoe fits...
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If the shoe fits...

Robert Downes - December 22nd, 2008
There’s been so little fanfare over the latest news from Iraq that most Americans probably don’t have a clue: the war is essentially over.
Okay, let’s qualify that by saying “barring some unforseen calamity, the war is over...” because you just never know.
But on Thanksgiving Day, the Iraqi parliament approved a new security pact that requires the United States to withdraw our troops by 2011.
The Iraqi government also voted on new restrictions for U.S. troops when it comes to searching homes, detaining citizens, and conducting military operations. Iraqi officials will also have oversight over U.S. troops and our soldiers will be prosecuted in Iraqi courts for serious crimes that are committed off-duty.
There are also plans to pull U.S. troops out of the cities and confine them to bases out in the countryside until we get our ticket home in 2011 -- three years from now.
Britain will start withdrawing its 4,100 troops in March, expecting to be out of Iraq by June.
Just a year ago, this sort of bombshell would have blown conservative stacks on the talk show circuit. That was back when candidate John McCain vowed never to “surrender” in Iraq (as if some insurgent general was going to hand over his sword like Robert E. Lee at Appomattox). Imagine the effrontery of the Iraqis telling us what to do in their own country!
But now, the mood in America seems to be: “let’s pack our bags and split before they change their minds.”
President Bush is happy. “The vote affirms the growth of Iraq’s democracy and increasing ability to secure itself,” he said earlier this month.
President-elect Barack Obama has got to be happy, because the news means we’ll no longer be pumping $12 billion or more into the futile sands of Iraq each month. He and Congress are going to need every cent they can scrape up to move the country forward -- not to mention Obama’s plan to send thousands of new troops into Afghanistan.
American hawks can be happy because they can declare victory. And the same applies to the American peace movement. What’s not to like?
Of course, there are some naysayers who wonder if Iraq’s government can get it together to run the country on their own within three years’ time. Or, will they be engulfed by the insurgent militias that have made Iraq a moonscape of bomb craters and bloody markets?
Well, consider this: a sizeable number of Iraqis are ticked off that our troops will be allowed to stay in their country for three more years. In early December, 10,000 of them protested allowing us to stay that long.
Now, the journalist who threw his shoes at Bush last week is a big hero to many Iraqis, who would like to see us gone immediately. He yelled: “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!”
Question: Can an old dog learn new tricks? Let’s use those shoes to tip-toe out of Iraq while the getting is good.

 
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