A nightmare visited me the other night. I stood, surrounded by a smoldering city, with a lifeless, bloody and burned toddler in my arms. Before me stood the childs mother. I looked the woman in the eyes and tried in vain to explain that her childs death was necessary for my security. Incoherent babble was all that passed my lips.
I awoke to discover that reality offered little relief. The morning paper included an article about a meeting called by the Swiss government to begin planning for the humanitarian relief if we go to war. All member nations of the U.N. Security Council were there, along with Iraqs neighbors and the relief agencies that work in the region. The U.S. declined the invitation.
How can there be so little dialogue about the human cost of war? Theres little talk of the 70,000 innocent deaths that resulted from the Gulf War and its aftermath. Yet, theres plenty of talk daily about the impact the coming war may have on our economy and investment portfolios.
Is anyone out there prepared to sacrifice their baby? Would you be willing to explain to the thousands of mothers, fathers and loved ones of the inevitable innocent dead why their sacrifice was necessary? If we lower the standards of justification for war as low as they are now, will we not be compelled to invade the other 50 plus countries in the world with despot leaders and the potential to compile weapons of mass destruction?
That lifeless child in my nightmare raised a number of questions. But as I looked into the eyes of my beautiful and full of life two-year-old that morning, I saw the true cost of war with the utmost clarity.
Timothy Young Honor
Backtalk on Iraq
The debate continues. I have been challenged by Charles Russell to defend my letter and my views (Letters 2/20), and I am pleased to do so. I am happy that you responded to my letter, because yes, Mr. Russell, free speech does go both ways. We agree on that.
You said “Mr. Mayer provided a honest observation of the hypocrisy in the behavior and the life styles of the local protesters.“ I challenge you to explain that. How is dressing warm for the weather and heating our homes as we express our dissenting views hypocritical?
You accuse me of spreading propaganda. Since you like dictionary definitions, Webster‘s defines propaganda as “the spreading of ideas, facts, or allegations deliberately to further one‘s cause.“ Under this definition I agree I was furthering my cause. The problem with pro-war propaganda is that it misguides. For example: the idea that we have to attack Iraq so that we can have security against terrorism is false. Bombing will cause more anti-American sentiment, which can be used to fuel terrorism. That‘s why I say war breeds terrorism. Is that clear for you now Mr. Russell?
Also, according to your definition of terrorism (which is “Government by intimidation as directed and carried out by the party in power.“) the U.S. (a government in power) waging war against Iraq (intimidation) is terrorism.
Saddam Hussein is not a good person, we all know that. And I wasn‘t saying otherwise. But dictators in other countries have committed the same crimes, and worse. Why aren‘t we waging war in those countries? It‘s because we have nothing to gain; they have no oil. Also, Mr. Russell, you compare Saddam Hussein to Hitler. How does that have any validity? I also challenge you to explain yourself on that.
You asked why the United States was not able to enter WWII until it was attacked on its own soil. You seem to be saying that fear of public opinion caused the United States to let WWII go on for too long. How is that connected to the situation in Iraq? Who is Iraq invading right now? Who is Iraq trying to exterminate right now? It‘s obvious from President Bush‘s statements that he doesn‘t care about what the American public or the world thinks anyway. When millions of us get together to oppose his decision on attacking Iraq, he dismisses us out of hand to the press.
You asked why the atrocities committed by Japan against the people of China, Korea, etc. were ignored by the United States. My answer is, Japan didn‘t have a lot of oil or anything else we needed. Thank you for helping me make my point.
Doesn‘t it sway you at all, Mr. Russell, that countries all over the world are against military action in Iraq? While I was at that protest that made me “lose my sense of reality,“ I talked to veterans that fought in wars. War was their reality. Have you ever killed a man for your country? Well they did. And I respect them, and their opinion, which is that war is not the solution. John F. Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.“ So let‘s make our choice.
Ruthy Posluszny - TC
Trash your TV
Just get rid of your TV, won‘t you, it‘ll improve your outlook tremendously (Re: Random Thoughts 2/27).
No excuses now--if we live in the Golden Age of Crapola, well the capital of the Golden Age of Crapola, its great golden pleasure dome is inside your TV.
Don‘t try telling me that NOVA is okay or FrontLine -- you‘d be better off reading those two hours and you know it. And think of all those other hours you‘d be gaining.
Don‘t mean to pry, but if you‘re going to whine in print about what‘s on TV, I‘m going to tell you to get rid of the damned thing.
Potential slogan: Trash your TV, read your Northern Express more thoroughly!
Oran Kelley TC
Poverty problems rising
I am writing to ask that Northern Express write an article on the impact that will take place in public service programs as a result of the recent budget cuts at the state level.
I work for the Benzie County Community Chest. The Community Chest acts as a philanthropic organization, much like the United Way. We raise funds through campaign drives, payroll deduction programs, etc. We then distribute support grants to local service agencies that assist low-income residents in our community.
Today, the non-profit public service sector is facing many challenges. We have a dwindling economy, unemployment on the rise, and cuts being made to state funded service programs that help the working poor, the elderly the physically challenged, and many others.
I read your article, “Hunger In Northern Michigan“ (2/20). I was so glad to see something like this in the paper. But this is just part of the problem. There has been little media coverage on the significant impact our state service programs are facing. Or the severity of the budget cuts for 2004, which will begin in October of this year. I fear that unless the word gets out, there will be no preparedness to meet the impending changes.
Michigan‘s general fund/general purpose budget, the source of state funding for Medicaid, is projected to be short $600 million in the current fiscal year. In 2004, the revenue shortfall could be as high as $1.8 billion.
Now, President Bush is proposing to do away with Medicaid at the federal level and instead, is proposing block grants which will be administered to the state.
What do all these changes mean for the non-profit world -- those who are working to help fill in the gaps? It means more requests for funding support and larger dollar requests. However, with the economy in decline, donations are expected to be down for many fundraising organizations. Changes that Bush is proposing may force private foundations to give less, causing the non-profit sector to compete even more for funding to support valuable programs.
What does it mean to the local community? It a nutshell, it means what service and how that services is rendered will change. That is, client eligibility determination, number of clients the program will continue to serve (due to funding), and if the service will continue to exist at all.
I urge you to check out the Michigan League for Human Services home page at: www.milhs.org and read the most recent legislative bulletins. Legislative Bulletin Vol. 8, Issue 1, lists the reduction in dollars and which programs will receive the elimination of funds. It‘s shocking.
Alicia Harrison Executive Director
Benzie County Community Chest
(Northern Express plans to cover a broad range of problems related to human need and the economy throughout the year in our People in Need series. This issue focuses on the Goodwill Inn homeless shelter. -- ed.)