Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Come Home
. . . .

Come Home

Stephen Tuttle - May 9th, 2011
Come Home
Dear Mr. President:
Nicely done. We appreciate it. And we appreciate the outstanding efforts
of our intelligence community, our military and the bold members of SEAL
Team 6.
You are now hearing many voices telling you we’ve accomplished our mission
and we should bring the troops home.
I suggest we should bring the troops home not because the death of bin
Laden marks the end of our mission against terrorism but because it does
not. In fact, there is no end to this war and it is likely no such end
will ever occur during our lifetime.
Those engaged in these murderous activities are now part of a
decentralized group of individual cells located in dozens of countries.
There is no single place we can go to engage and defeat them. Their
fanatical zeal will never allow them to stop their violent rampages.
Additionally, this part of the world has been at war with itself and
others for at least 4,000 years and it is not likely they’ll stop whether
we’re in the region or not.
We’re sure someone must have explained to you that the prognosis for those
who invade the region is bleak. This lack of success has been going on for
a long time.
Afghanistan is ancient. Archeological digs have discovered traces of human
inhabitants from 50,000 years ago. Some form of urban civilization has
existed there since at least 3000 B.C. More to the point, Afghanistan has
been invaded, occupied and involved in some kind of conflict for as far
back as records exist.
Alexander the Great came rumbling through the area, made a brief stop, and
then moved along finding no real reason to stay. Genghis Khan visited,
too; raping, pillaging, plundering and destroying everything he and his
Mongols could find to destroy. They then moved along, too.
In more modern times, the British and the Russians played tug-of-war with
the place, neither gained much of an advantage and by 1920 neither
exercised effective control over the area and they left. A succession of
attempted governments followed, including a monarchy and several military
Then, the Soviet Union invaded in 1979 trying to support their Marxist
puppet regime which had come under fire from a religious insurgency. The
invasion was a bad idea.
We supported the anti-Soviet mujahideen, the so-called freedom fighters,
with money and arms. Osama bin Laden also supported them financially and
used that conflict to create and organize al Qaeda.
In nine years, the Soviets suffered at least 15,000 dead and 20 times that
number wounded. Then they went slinking back home, defeated, the invasion
serving as an important signpost on the way to their eventual collapse.
We are not likely to be the first to successfully occupy Afghanistan.
Iraq is not much better.
The Cradle of Civilization, with a history dating back to at least 6000
B.C., the area we now call Iraq has also seen an endless succession of
invading armies who came and saw but did not conquer.
It’s instructive to note the first war in recorded history, between Sumer
and Elam, took place around 2700 B.C. fairly close to what is now Basra,
in Iraq.
In more recent times, the British tried their hand as an occupying force.
They, along with the French, arbitrarily created the borders of modern-day
Iraq. They did not enjoy their stay in the country.
Winston Churchill, who was in charge of the Brits’ mess in Iraq long
before he became Prime Minister, might have made the most salient comments
about the area in a letter to then Prime Minister David Lloyd George in
1922, “Why are we compelled to go on pouring armies and treasure into
these thankless deserts?”
We know you inherited these wars, Mr. President. But you need not
continue them.
The fact is outposts of al Qaeda fanatics and their “affiliates” will
continue to exist and continue to undertake murderous missions. The
Taliban, always lurking in the mountains of Afghanistan, will also still
be around, desperate to return some country somewhere back to the 14th
century they so love.
We will never kill them all. Never.
But modern technology does allow us to remain hyper-vigilant and to
eliminate high value targets without the cost we now pay in blood and
There is scant evidence that our staying in the area will help much,
either. The new Iraqi government is ineffective and ineffectual, a
conglomeration of folks without a clue of how to form or run a real
government. Afghanistan is even worse, a cesspool of corruption with
virtually no remaining infrastructure and with opium poppies as the
country’s primary source of income.
We’re not even sure those we now support will be allies in the future. We
may well be creating something even worse than what we’re replacing.
Remember the mujahideen we supported against the Soviet invasion in
Afghanistan? Many of them became the backbone of the Taliban.
In Afghanistan and Iraq we are now fighting the two longest wars in our
history. We’ve spent at least $1.3 trillion and suffered more than 47,000
dead and wounded in the effort. We’ve routed the Taliban in Afghanistan,
eliminated Saddam Hussein in Iraq and killed the symbolic leader of al
Qaeda. Despite all of that, the terrorists, who now kill just for the sake
of killing, are still there.
We can neither stay in the region forever nor protect them from themselves
There is an old Arab saying: “We will sacrifice space for time.” The
tribal feuds into which we’ve injected ourselves have been going on for
millennia. They will continue with or without us.
Mr. President, it’s time for us to come home.
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