Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Wrong side of the coin 4/11/11

Stephen Tuttle - April 11th, 2011
Wrong Side of the Coin
American presidents have a very steep learning curve when it comes to
sending our young men and women into harm’s way thousands of miles from
home. It appears they simply cannot resist the urge to prove how tough
they are.
So, now we have Libya to add to the growing list of places we just
absolutely, positively had to go and bomb.
President Obama hung in there longer than most, resisting the
temptation to blow up some stuff as long as he could. It’s not as if
he didn’t get plenty of flak from all sides while making up his mind.
Some on the right excoriated him for delaying his decision. Others on
the right criticized him for having done anything at all. Those on the
left were similarly critical and for the same reasons – should have
acted sooner or shouldn’t have acted at all.
In the end, we have a kind of nascent Obama Doctrine. If civilians are
at risk from their own government and the country or region is of vital
strategic importance to us (or, one presumes, our omnipotent
corporations) then we’re likely to stick our noses into whatever
problems they might be having. And, of course, there has to be some
kind of multi-country coalition allowing us to pretend it isn’t just us
doing the heavy lifting.
In Libya, according to our leaders, we’re not so much trying to get rid
of their dictator, Muamar Gaddafi (Kaddhafi? Kaddafi? Qaddafi?
Gaddhafi?). No, not at all. We’re not interested in regime change.
On the other hand, we’d very much like him to leave and haven’t been
afraid to say so. But we’re not out to get him.
No, we’re just protecting civilians from what, we’re told, would have
been a bloodbath carried out by Libyan security forces, imported
mercenaries and elements of the Libyan military.
Libya, tucked in between Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and the Mediterranean
Sea, became a kind of peripheral player in the quick revolutions that
took place in Egypt and Tunisia. When the demonstrations started in
Tripoli and elsewhere Gaddafi had a less gentle response than quietly
One other thing – Libya has more oil than any other African country.
So, we cobbled together a coalition of NATO countries and unleashed our
Tomahawk missiles and smart bombs and commenced with the destruction.
The problems here are fairly obvious. We’re already mired in
Afghanistan, the longest military engagement in U.S. history and we’re
still mired in Iraq, the second longest military engagement in U.S.
history. With nearly 6,000 deaths, and counting, and about $1 trillion
spent, and counting, we’re already waist deep in that quicksand with no
rescue in sight.
Even the briefest foray into Libya creates additional billions in costs
and stretches our actual combat capabilities perilously thin. We’re
now told our combat role has ended, that our NATO coalition is in
charge and we’ve taken support roles. The president has not ruled out
helping arm the rebels though we’re not taking sides, mind you. Just
leveling the playing field.
And we absolutely, positively will not be sending combat ground troops.
No boots on the ground on President Obama’s and Secretary of Defense
Gates’ watches. One then supposes the CIA operatives we’ve already sent
and are currently on the ground in Libya are wearing Italian loafers or
flip-flops or something other than boots.
This is pretty close to insanity. The rebels, who we may or may not
support depending on the day of the week and the hour of the day, have
no command and control structure, no identifiable leaders, no funding
source, no training capabilities. They don’t even know how to use the
weapons they already have and would have not the least clue how to use
modern weapons supplied by us or other NATO countries. Training them
would means lots of boots on the ground for a long time.
Worse still, we’ve absolutely no clue of an outcome even if the rebels
win and He Whose Name Cannot Be Spelled goes skittering off with his
purloined billions. We’re not even sure who the “good guys” might be
and there are plenty of groups willing to fill a Libyan leadership void
who we’d likely consider the “bad guys.”
If the so-called Obama doctrine leads us to prevent civilian massacres
in areas of strategic interest then where the hell have we been in the
civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Why isn’t a country
with Africa’s richest natural resources, nearly all of which are
completely unexploited, considered of strategic interest to us? The
Congo death toll is now nearing a staggering 5.5 million, the vast
majority of whom were civilians. It’s the worst such blood bath since
World War II and we and the U.N. and everybody else have stood idly by
as the horrendous carnage goes on day after day. Where are our
humanitarian instincts there?
For that matter, what about Bahrain or Qatar or Yemen or the Ivory
Coast or any of the couple of dozen other countries currently engaged
in some kind of civil war or genocide or other form of evil? If
strategic importance and humanitarian considerations are our primary
objectives then why, oh why, do we continue to coddle the repressive
and murderous thugs from the House of Saud currently running Saudi
We’re engaged in folly; a belief we can somehow alter the outcome of
what are essentially centuries old tribal civil wars in the Middle
East. We rationalize our ongoing involvement by emphasizing the evils
of the leaders whose countries we attack and the horrors they have
perpetrated on their own people. Unfortunately, there are a lot of
leaders who fit that description. So far, we’ve inserted ourselves
into situations in which we can neither predict nor control the
The sad fact is we could win every battle and still lose every war.
That’s not a doctrine. It’s a coin-flip with a two-headed coin and we
call “tails” every time.

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