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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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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