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Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Watch our government

Sally Harborth (letters, Nov. 29) says that she does not wish to know any information about any detainees until after the war on terrorism is over. This is extremely frightening. If we turn our heads when the government tramples over the civil rights of immigrants, it will not be too long until its own citizens are targeted for the same treatment, and worse.

The example of Argentina demonstrates what happens when a government uses the excuse of stamping out terrorism to ignore basic human rights. At least 9,000 people disappeared in Argentina's war against leftist terrorists. As social psychologist Erwin Staub describes in his book, "The Roots of Evil," the selection of victims was indiscriminate; not even pregnant women were spared.

As patriotic citizens, we must watch our government and refuse to allow it to detain people in secrecy. If we do not speak out and demand information, then the next person to disappear may be you or me.

ALEX BIERMAN Pleasant Hill

Farms create dust, too

Government economist Ed Whitelaw has, in the past, made some interesting and thoughtful comments on various local and regional issues, but his Dec. 3 guest column fails the giggle test.

His statement that the proposed Eugene Sand & Gravel operation would increase costs at certain roadside vegetable stands may be half true, but the other half of the truth is also important.

I have traveled thousands of hours and miles through the byways of the southern Willamette Valley, past many examples of the prevailing use of the area's open land - working farms - and two things are universal on and around those farms: dust and trucks.

I have spent some past years working at a business sandwiched between a cluster of those farms, and I have choked on the dust all summer. I have endured the noise and the stink of the trucks and farm machinery, and dealt with them in traffic daily - and none of it was any fun, but those things are necessary in the land of real farms.

The current status would seem to be that those farm operations (in reality, amusement parks) are benefiting from the nonuse of neighboring real estate that they do not own, and they wish to perpetuate that subsidy at the expense of others.

If Whitelaw wishes to discuss matters of economics, it seems a better starting point would have been to compare the payroll and taxes of Eugene Sand & Gravel vs. Lone Pine and Thistledown Farms.


Country under attack

Hard times make for hard decisions. The last time the United States was attacked on its own soil, one president interned without due process thousands of innocent American citizens, and another elected to drop an atomic bomb at the center of a large city, killing hundreds of thousands of noncombatant men, women and children.

Viewed in a historical perspective, the actions of the current U.S. government appear modest and measured.

Those who criticize our attack on Afghanistan, our decision to interview recently arrived Middle Eastern aliens, our use of military tribunals and other extraordinary government actions in the war on terrorism offer no alternatives to protect American lives.

The facts are not in dispute: An organization of radical Middle Eastern Muslims called al-Qaeda has vowed to kill as many Americans as possible. On Sept. 11, they killed 4,000 of us. The organization is headquartered in Afghanistan, whose government pledged itself to harbor and protect al-Qaeda as its honored guests. Other Muslim nations have sponsored terrorists in the past and could be expected to do so again. Al-Qaeda is known to have cells in other countries. The terrorists of Sept. 11 were living in the United States.

Given those facts, what can the government do to protect the citizenry?

Those who honor the Constitution should take heart from the fact that it withstood far greater insults in the past. Our civil liberties are stronger today than they were in 1941. The president who put innocent Americans in concentration camps is honored by a memorial in our nation's capital. The president who bombed civilians is considered one of the best presidents of the 20th century. Life goes on, and America remains a beacon of freedom.

However, there will always be hard choices.


Giving tree hard to find

Valley River Center evidently knew in July that the people who have done the Tree of Joy wouldn't be doing it this year. Why didn't the mall's managers let the public know so that someone else could step in?

When I visited Valley River Center on Dec. 1, I had a hard time finding the "Tree of Giving." Most clerks had no idea where it was. When I finally tracked it down, it had very few names on it! Fewer children will have a merry holiday season.

Valley River Center wants our big money badly; it's a shame it has such a little heart. The center could have done a much better job with community relations.


Fairgrounds site ideal

Hello - is the Eugene City Council listening? A wonderful solution for the new Eugene hospital location has been suggested. Can all of the council members stop fighting and become team members to accomplish this suggested win-win solution?

In a Nov. 30 letter to the editor, James Knight suggested letting PeaceHealth build its new facility downtown at the Lane County Fairgrounds and moving the fairgrounds to the edge of town where it belongs.

The fairgrounds could and should be relocated where there is room to expand, and where problems with animal waste runoff would be reduced. Let's keep PeaceHealth in Eugene, and McKenzie-Willamette in Springfield.

DON L. ANDERSON Springfield

Bicyclists need lights

With the change of seasons, not only is it wetter but we spend more time in darkness. As a part-time bicycle commuter, this time of year is more dangerous - not only because of wet conditions, but also because car drivers don't see us or, worse yet, go head-to-head with some bike rider who doesn't have lights.

And as a driver, there have been many a near "bump in the night" while driving in the dark with wipers flapping and barely missing some shadowy bike riders who cut across traffic or are in a turn lane.

I thought Eugene had laws about bike lights. Does someone have to get run over before things change?


No question: He lied

I am so tired of apologists for Bill Clinton and their blind faith to him. I suggest that Gary Frazier (letters, Dec. 1) search the Internet for the case and the Clinton-appointed federal judge who found him guilty of "lying under oath and depriving a fellow citizen of her day in court."

If Clinton didn't lie, why did Paula Jones receive a settlement of almost a million dollars? I wonder why the Arkansas Supreme Court fined him and disbarred him? I wonder why the U.S. Supreme Court justices disbarred him from appearing before them? Of course, Frazier will never see or understand why that happened. He is intentionally blind to the truth.

I do remember Clinton wagging his finger at the American public and saying, "I did not have sex with that woman - Miss Lewinski." I know a bold-faced liar when I see one. Most of the rest of America recognizes Clinton as one, too.

Only Frazier seems to be blind to the facts. Frazier should keep his blinders on - that way he'll never have to face reality.


Safety is parents' job

The story of the children in Newport (Register-Guard, Nov. 29) who came close to death because of an apparent lack of training and teaching by their parents brings up a question that I am bothered with quite often: Where are the parents when teaching things like safety, respect and responsibility should be a topic of discussion often in the home?

Now the mother wants the city to build a barricade to prevent her children from making the same mistake again. While we are at it, why not also have the city fence the oceanfront? And oh yes, while they are doing that for me, don't forget Highway 101. That is a real danger. Then I could really be free from my parental responsibilities.

FRED MORGAN Harrisburg

End terrorist tactics

I'm writing in reference to a quote by Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge under the headline, "Attacks possible during holidays, Ridge warns" (Register-Guard, Dec. 4). "We are a nation at war," Ridge said. "We are the targets of enemies who have demonstrated that they have no remorse about killing thousands of innocent civilians."

Ridge says that Afghanistan is the enemy and we are the victims at a time when we mercilessly massacre anything that moves on a land where crops refuse to grow and children freeze to death on a regular basis. The government thinks that the way to solve a problem is by mopping it up and washing it down the drain, and anyone who speaks out against the cause is aligned with the terrorists.

This is a government that ignores the will of its people under a constitution defined as by the people, for the people. Our government claims that this isn't a war on the people of Afghanistan but is wiping the civilians of this country off the map, claiming something that happened three months ago as its justification.

The Taliban has been around for a long time now, and we weren't so bothered with it before. Only when it affected the economy did the U.S. government enter the picture.

As a country, as a world, we need to unite under the cause of love and peace. How can we live in a world without terrorism when, to fix a problem, we use terrorist tactics?

We have become those who we hate.



The Register-Guard welcomes letters on topics of general interest. Our length limit is 250 words; all letters are subject to condensation. Writers are limited to one letter per calendar month. Because of the volume of mail, not all letters can be printed. Letters must be signed with the writer's full name. An address and daytime telephone number are needed for verification purposes; this information will not be published or released. Mail letters to Mailbag, P.O. Box 10188, Eugene, OR 97440-2188 Fax: 338-2828 E-mail:
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Dec 6, 2001
Previous Article:A true pioneer.
Next Article:A political decision.

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