LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Let's 'interrogate' our leaders
For six years now we've witnessed a near total inability to get honest, straight answers from the Bush administration.
President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and their minions either refuse to answer, obfuscate, avoid the questions or simply repeat the same demonstrable untruths while branding anyone so gauche as to question their veracity un-American, traitorous and `terrorist-friendly.'
Enough of this foolishness. It's time to get the truth from these gentlefolks. Let's apply some of those same `non-torture' interrogations they so love.
Let's violate their personal privacy and take demeaning pictures of them to share with their families. Let's strip them naked and place them in stress positions for 24 hours or more. Let's try a little water-boarding - after all, it's not torture.
If these methods don't get us the answers we're looking for, let's render them to Syria or Egypt where the really professional interrogators can work on them.
When we're done, we will have answers to questions we didn't even think to ask. Who cares if our techniques are morally reprehensible and practically useless, since all history and literature relating to interrogation discounts the validity of information acquired through torture?
After all, these are dangerous people - and besides, if they felt you had information they wanted, they would do the same to you, wouldn't they?
Police just doing job at Autzen
Here is an idea to satisfy Duck fans who cannot go even a few hours without an alcoholic beverage. Since they are at Autzen Stadium to support the Ducks and the University of Oregon, demand that the university take the legal steps to meet the state requirements to allow alcoholic beverage consumption on its property.
This would be a source of revenue for the university. Furthermore, the alcoholic beverage consumption could be regulated by UO staff. Since a bartender or server cannot continue to serve a person who is visibly intoxicated, this could reduce the small number of Duck fans who get out of hand. This action may increase the cost of tickets, but it is a small price to pay to have a "drink or two" and enjoy the game. Remember: Go Ducks!
The Eugene Police Department is only doing its job in enforcing existing laws. The police are not out to harass anyone. Over the years they may have been lax in enforcing these laws because of the venue, but now they seem to be taking more action. Besides, didn't the police issue warning letters about this?
In the end, people need to choose how they want to behave. Drink at home and watch the game on TV, buy better tickets to be in the skybox areas that serve food and beverages, or obey the law.
ANTHONY F. LUNA
Sheppard had clear vision
I believe that Planned Parenthood has been very fortunate to have had Bill Sheppard leading it over the past 30 years. I was on the board when Sheppard was hired, and remember how his clear vision and steady leadership pulled us together to save the organization.
As a single parent and Lane Community College work-study student, I did not have money to lend the agency in that first year, but I had the willingness to pitch in where I could. I hadn't done fundraising, but I volunteered to chair that committee, and Sheppard and the board allowed me to do it.
Sheppard knew that we would need a plan and he enlisted Bruce Shaw, then of the YMCA, to show us how to do the scary work of asking people for money. I feel very fortunate to have been a member of that early team because it helped me to learn that raising money is both possible and a process.
Sheppard helped give us the confidence that we could do what we needed to do, and he committed himself totally. He remains an example of a real leader to me; one who has a vision of what can be, who helps set realistic goals that strive for new levels of achievement, and who enlists the help of board, staff and volunteers in achieving those goals.
I am grateful to Sheppard for giving me a real life model of leadership and for guiding Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon through the past 30 years. Well done!
A harvest of hubris
What is America doing to itself?
This Orwellian transition in just one short generation from heroes to ogres has not only been shameful, but self destructive. We have never heretofore been so vilified and hated by so many, friends and foes alike, in our entire history.
Is it any wonder? When I hear our president argue the ludicrous rationale for torture, secret renditions to foreign prisons of torture and kangaroo courts based on innuendo, hearsay and coerced confessions, the object of their derision is clear.
What is more troubling is the large segment of society that gives overt and tacit approval to this repugnant behavior. These represent the very ingredients of a totalitarian regime that our forefathers fought and died to defeat. This sort of behavior was unthinkable just a generation ago.
Take a moment and gaze into your private mirror. If you see the monster that aided and abetted this catastrophe looking back at you, then Lord have mercy on your hubris-coated soul.
To be so shortsighted is the byproduct of fools and children too self-absorbed to listen or read beyond sound bites and slogans. You followed the Decider-Uniter down the path of least resistance into Dante's Inferno.
Unfortunately, I have little faith that the will exists for Americans to backtrack to the moral fork in the road not taken and start afresh.
We need to build bridges and not fences. Maybe, do unto others - nay, that would be too Christian.
Beware foreign entanglements
George Washington in his Farewell Address, cautioned against "foreign entanglements."
"Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated," he said.
The United States is far different today, as is the world. The U.S. is a superpower, and we can live up to that high calling if we change our leadership style from "power over" to "power with" - from "law and order" to "law and justice." And if we would create foreign alliances and build police partnerships.
Constitutionally, only Congress should declare war, and in the traditional sense of a known enemy on a known battlefield.
Terrorism, on the other hand, is conducted by unknown leaders without battle lines. Just as criminals will always be with us, so will terrorists. We should apprehend and bring them to justice as a matter of keeping the peace - not as "war," but as a civilized society.
President Bush says "progress is being made and the war will be won." The invasion of Iraq may have been war, but our continued presence is simply an occupation.
Iraq is not a natural nation, but an ethnically divided one that Saddam Hussein held together by force. By our leaving as occupiers, it will help Iraqis resolve their own differences, even by civil war, if necessary.
George Washington would approve.
Christians defended own lands
Dean Mordhorst's Sept. 21 letter (`Pope fosters suspicion") was filled with errors.
The crusades were not about "exterminating" Muslims, but regaining Christian lands taken by force by Muslim armies.
From Muhammad's time (A.D. 570-632) on, Muslims set out to conquer Christian lands. Within 500 years, they had conquered North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor and most of Spain - about two-thirds of the Christian world. Christians had to either defend their lands or accept Muslim rule. The First Crusade was called in 1095 by Pope Urban II, who responded to pleas for aid from the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople.
Upon his election, Pope Benedict did not refer to himself as "a humble man," but as "a humble servant in the vineyard of the Lord," emphasizing his proper place before God; he was hardly making a prideful statement.
As for proclamations of humility, Jesus said, "I am gentle and humble in heart" (Matthew 11:29); noting your humility is prideful only if you are not truly humble. Benedict's writings and life provide ample evidence of an intellectual giant who is well aware of his limitations.
Benedict's remarks in Regensburg did not foster suspicion. Rather, his use of a historical anecdote emphasized the need for religion - whether Christianity or Islam - to be guided by reason. It was followed by an intellectual examination of the West's growing rejection of both reason and religion, an examination that truly fosters meaningful dialogue for those who wish to engage in it.
CARL E. OLSON
Sorenson fields Big Question
On Sept. 16, I was at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza and was a bit surprised to see Lane County Commissioner Peter Sorenson step up to the microphone.
He told us we should consider his visit a short town hall meeting. He gave a brief statement, and then asked if anyone had any questions.
I did and prefaced my question with statements before asking the Big Question. I reminded everyone that Oregon voters approved medicinal use of cannabis in 1998, but it was not as comprehensive a law as needed.
For me, the situation is reminiscent of women's rights after the Roe vs. Wade decision. Women had a right to choice, but no access to abortion clinics. It is the same situation with Oregon Medical Marijuana Patients - we still do not have safe access to our medicine.
I finally asked, `Are you in favor of state-regulated, nonprofit-operated medical cannabis dispensaries?"
He answered in a word, `Yes," and then went on a few seconds later to explain why - and it could not have been stated better!
I hope this November we can elect more public officials with leadership qualities like Sorenson's. We need leaders who aren't afraid to do what is right and will work diligently to allow medical marijuana patients access to our much-needed medicine at a local dispensary.
Oregonians support death with dignity. We need to support life with dignity, too!
Americans for Safe Access