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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Region Watch: Hollywood shines on Doug Stanton & The Horse Soldiers‘/ New parklands/ Better drug disposal

- April 13th, 2009
Hollywood shines on Doug Stanton & Horse Soldiers
Best-selling author Doug Stanton of Traverse City was in Hollywood’s spotlight last week.
Variety Magazine, a trade magazine of the entertainment industry, announced in a front-page story that Disney and uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer acquired the screen rights for his soon-to-be-published book, Horse Soldiers.
There was more good news.
An exclusive excerpt of his book will run in the upcoming May issue of Men’s Journal, which boasts a 3.5 million national circulation. Stanton is a contributing editor for the magazine.
Bruckheimer, who will produce the movie, is famous for high-action films such as Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Horse Soldiers gives him a lot of material to work with. The nearly 400-page book chronicles the journey of a handful of Special Forces, from the time they first hear about 9/11 on their living room TV sets to riding horses along skinny mountain trails in Afghanistan, The Americans gaze down black precipices as they ride side-by-side with three warlords and their troops (the Northern Alliance) to defeat the Taliban.
The fierce battles combine American smart bomb technology with the Afghan soldiers’ ability to fight and survive under brutal conditions. The Afghans slept through the freezing nights without blankets and wore what looked like shower shoes into battle. The book climaxes with the Talibans’ siege of a massive fort, the death of CIA operative Mike Spann, and the surrender of John Walker Lindh, a Californian who thought the Taliban were the good guys.
Stanton, who worked on the book for six years, visited Afghanistan and interviewed more than 100 soldiers and Afghans. He relied on primary documents, including the map that warlord Rashid Dostum brought to the battle lines.
Stanton said the Special Forces aren’t the kind of soldiers who like the light of publicity, but that will all change when a few of them are asked to join him on a national publicity tour in May. Stanton plans to do a reading at Horizon Books in Traverse City next month, but a date hasn’t been set.
The book’s release wasn’t planned to coincide with the new developments in Afghanistan, but it’s fortuitous because there are lessons in the book that could lead to a more stable Afghanistan, Stanton said. The way the war was fought in Afghanistan in 2001 is a template for the ongoing conflict there, and for future wars, he said.
“To see where we need to go today in Afghanistan in 2009, we need only to look back to the dramatic battle of the horse soldiers where they acted part sociologist, part anthropologist, part diplomat. They were eagerly welcomed as liberators by the local Afghans, who were overjoyed to be freed from Taliban oppression. How they did this is at the heart of Horse Soldiers.”
Stanton’s first book was In Harm’s Way, a New York Times bestseller for several months. He was also a contributing editor for Esquire, Sport’s Afield and Outside Magazine. Warner Brothers acquired the screen rights for In Harm’s Way in 2001, and at one point was developing a big-screen adaptation. Stanton believes that now is the right time to rekindle interest in making In Harm’s Way as a movie.
“I’d like to see that happen soon,” said Stanton, who last week flew to Florida to visit Gil McCoy, a former World War II marine who was featured prominently in the book. McCoy has cancer and is in hospice.

(Doug Stanton is married to Anne
Stanton, an investigative reporter for Northern Express.)

NEW PARKLANDS
The approval of $58 million in funding for land acquisition by the Michigan Senate will mean a $4 million boost for two parks in Grand Traverse County.
State Senator Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, notes that under Senate Bill 322, the Natural Resources Trust Fund will provide $1 million to acquire 28 acres of land next to Traverse City State Park to improve recreation at the park, along with fishing access to Mitchell Creek.
Also benefiting will be the Acme Waterfront Park project, which will receive $3.06 million to complete its first phase of development. Acme Township plans to acquire 11.5 acres and 2,000 feet of lake frontage as an addition to Bayside Park along East Bay.

BETTER DRUG DISPOSAL
Unwanted prescription drugs are contaminating the nation‘s water supply and falling into the hands of teenagers, say Congressmen Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Lamar Smith (R-TX). The two have introduced legislation to dispose of unused or unwanted pharmaceuticals.
“As drugs that are no longer needed sit around in household medicine cabinets, millions of Americans – particularly teenagers – are turning to these unused pharmaceuticals at an alarming rate as an alternative to illegal drugs,” Stupak said. “By implementing a safe, controlled and environmentally-friendly means for disposing of unwanted drugs, we can make it harder for teens to abuse prescription drugs, while at the same time cleaning up our lakes, rivers and streams.”
In March, 2008, the Associated Press reported that the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans are contaminated with drugs.

 
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