Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.
Liberal media distort Iraq news
A couple of days into the liberation of Iraq, the liberals were shrieking that "we didn't have a plan," that we were in a "quagmire," and that all was "chaos." Sound familiar?
Of course, that part of the liberation went extremely well. You would think that the liberals would be extremely embarrassed by their ridiculously inaccurate pronouncements and quietly slink away.
Not our liberals. The liberal media are still trumpeting "no plan" for everything from guarding a museum to finally securing the peace.
Now, of course, every responsible individual, including legislators from both parties, comes back from Iraq and announce that what they found in Iraq is 180 degrees different from what they had been reading in the liberal press. The media know that a peaceful, liberated Iraq will guarantee that George Bush will serve a second term. Their skin crawls at the thought of that, and they will do whatever they must, no matter how dishonest, to prevent it.
There is an ever-growing feeling that our great troops in Iraq and the Iraqis themselves may be in greater danger from the picture of chaos being painted by the liberal media than from the terrorists themselves. Terrorists are much more likely to be attracted to a place that they believe to be in upheaval.
Our liberal media spend too much time on the negative. Even Fox News, which at least tries to be fair, falls into this trap. It's a fact that reporting violence is easier and sexier than reporting progress. We must do better.
JAMES T. BRYANT
Leave Limbaugh to addict's fate
I'm a bit confused about The Register-Guard's Oct. 15 editorial, "Learn from Rush." It's obvious that Rush Limbaugh made his confession only with the imminent threat of seeing the lurid story laid out in tabloid. He's been through treatment twice before the story broke, and he's entering another "spin-dry." Why should we give him sympathy when there are others sitting in prison for having done less?
As far as I'm concerned, he's no better than a junkie, a crack whore or a skid row drunk, except that he has money, power and a host of conservative apologists who would not have been so charitable to a liberal pundit.
Fact is, the guy conspired to obtain thousands of doses of illegal drugs. Since the normal procedure for those who are resistant to treatment yet continue their illegal activity is to send them to prison, let Rush broadcast his show from a prison cell somewhere.
The editorial claims, "If wealth, a belief in personal responsibility and a contempt for lawbreakers provided protection, Limbaugh would be immune to addiction."
Wealth he may have, but I see no personal responsibility or contempt for lawbreakers in his behavior. He's an addict, pure and simple; he's no different from the junkie, the drunk or the crack fiend. Let him suffer the same fate. Better yet, have Rush spend his next 365 broadcasts from his cell giving addiction education and pushing for treatment of drug addicts on demand.
Say it again: No new taxes
I urge everyone to sign the petition to put the new tax on the ballot. The Legislature was unwilling to bite the bullet to cut spending on several state superfluous programs. The Senate was given 14 different opportunities (bills passed by the House to reduce spending), and the Democrats kept them from passing. They ignored Oregon's falling credit rating and, instead, passed a new surtax (much larger than the one we defeated at a prior election).
What is it that they don't understand about "no!" Everyone in this state is suffering from a poor economy and has had to cut spending. Why not the government?
I understand the pressures that the representatives and senators are under with the unions and lobbyists. The largest is the Oregon Education Association, which cries poor-mouth every biennium. Does anyone realize that we already provide $10,000 per student per year for kindergarten through 12th grade ($10,500 in Multnomah County), which is one of the highest in the nation? Last I saw, we ranked lower than most states in tests taken by the students.
Does anyone out there really believe that if we throw more money at it it will get better? In the meantime, we are lowering the budget for higher education. If the good citizens of Oregon are willing tighten their belt, so should the government.
The only way that the people can send their message again to our legislators and governor is to vote down the new surtax that has been passed by the legislature.
Tell them to cut spending - no new taxes!
Poor treatment a scandal
When I read the scandalous article (Register-Guard, Oct. 21) titled "Wounded face poor care stateside," I had a hard time believing that I was seeing right. A local commander, apparently in over his capabilities, can't manage to guarantee even basic care for wounded soldiers.
The cheap explanation of empty treasure chests is an insult to all those who risk their lives in war zones. But the gentlemen at the Pentagon should be intelligent enough to know that the problem could be solved if they ordered just one fewer tank.
The only conclusion that can be drawn is that they are only interested in soldiers who are in battle-ready condition. And where is the public outcry? Where are those myriad folks and businesses who hang up "we support our troops" signs?
At the end of the article we find a declaration of bankruptcy when the helpless commander, John Kidd, reminds us that we're at war. Has Kidd perhaps assumed that wars produce no injured?
This arrogance is undeniably visible when he glosses over his own incompetence and failure to prepare for the consequences with the remark: "Some of these soldiers are certainly not happy."
What is being conserved?
We're confused about what President Bush's conservative Republicans are trying to conserve.
Can't be the environment; they're gutting the air pollution and forest regulations.
Can't be a strong economy; they've gone from a surplus to a massive deficit and lost more than 2 million jobs since Bush's appointment to office.
Can't be personal liberty; they've allowed the Patriot Act to supersede the Bill of Rights and opposed women's rights globally.
Can't be peace, stability and cooperation throughout the world, for reasons too obvious and too numerous to mention.
What the conservative Republicans are preserving - and increasing - is the gap between the very rich and the rest of us. They've widened the gap by cutting income taxes for the highest brackets and gutting the estate tax that applied only to the wealthiest families. Maybe the GOP should be renamed the WGOP - the We've Got Ours Party.
Now they're busy "conserving" the interests of the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries. The energy bill before Congress will increase pollution, destroy parts of the environment, and leave us all even more dependent on controlling the world's production and distribution of oil.
True conservatives, as well as progressives, will write or call Sens. Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden to oppose the energy bill. We must all seek ways to work together to preserve the constitution against a powerful, greedy clique of the super wealthy.
NAN and WILLIAM MAY
To cut benefits is to cut pay
I will let others argue about the laziness of public employees or fairness of the legislature's Public Employees Retirement System reforms. I would like, instead, to point out two recent articles in The Register-Guard that show us what's really happening.
The first is the Oct. 21 article about all the teachers moving to Washington to finish their teaching careers. Despite what some say, benefits are pay, and reducing benefits is reducing pay. Many teachers feel that they have been insulted by Oregon and will take their skills and loyalties where they may be better appreciated.
Another article a few days earlier tells us that because of the recent stock market upswing, about two thirds of the PERS deficit has already been made up and the freeze on returns may be able to be removed by next March. This tells me that there's a good chance that the PERS crisis was about as real as those phantom weapons of mass destruction.
Perhaps the PERS reforms were more of an anti-teacher and anti-union opportunity than anything else. It's too bad that our children will pay the price.
Agamemnon, not Achilles
University of Oregon humanities professor Malcolm Wilson challenged his class recently by citing Nicholas Kristof's Oct. 27 column. The New York Times columnist compared Achilles (whose sulking posture hangs over most of Homer's epic, the "Iliad"), with George W. Bush and his stand on Iraq. Students in class who had just completed study of the "Iliad" were asked which of the other lead characters of the Iliad might better compare with Bush.
A young voice called out, "Agamemnon" - and many seemed to agree. The subject added to the normally electro-charged atmosphere of professor Wilson's lectures as other amusing comparisons were made.
The consensus seemed to go with Agamemnon over Achilles. For, if you remember, Achilles withheld his support for the war and nursed his private angst to a point of near absurdity up until the final chapters, when he flung himself into the fray. Agamemnon, on the other hand, pulled rank on Achilles early on, took away his prize and, king-like, plunged into battle. And wasn't it Agamemnon who sacrificed his child to bring about favorable winds so the Greeks could sail to Troy and save Helen?
Kristof's memory of the classics may have slipped a notch, but we continue to learn what history tells us: That then, and now, no sacrifice is too great, even the lives and limbs of our precious youth, to seek the hero's prize.
PATRICIA W. CHRISTGAU
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Article Type:||Letter to the Editor|
|Date:||Nov 2, 2003|
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