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Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Consensus on terror exists

Conservatives and liberals certainly can agree that the Sept. 11 attack was a life-changing event for all Americans. Our confidence was badly shaken, our economy has yet to recover and our sense of freedom was eroded. Does any person, left or right, believe that like-minded terrorists would hesitate to use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons if given the opportunity?

We might also find consensus that our values are at polar extremes from those who would fly suicide-murder missions into skyscrapers or strap on explosives and blow up a bus full of civilians. Americans can't begin to comprehend a culture so full of misguided hate and intolerance. Instead, we value our lives and consider our existence a gift from God.

There are no common denominators between the American culture and the religious radical culture that despises all that America represents. There are potentially hundreds of thousands of fundamentalist Islamic radicals who truly believe that a higher power has called them to engage in a jihad against all who are infidels. Is this not a goal for religious or ethnic cleansing?

Negotiation is not possible with terrorists or countries that support terrorist groups. If we allow terrorism to metastasize, we will ensure our own demise. If we believe that our way of life is worth preserving, we must act now and act decisively. We are in for a long and bumpy ride, but all Americans, left and right, and indeed the world, will benefit when we reach our destination.



Iraqi rescuer a hero

I was quite impressed and delighted to read about the 32-year-old Iraqi who made it possible to rescue Pfc. Jessica Lynch. He took a very big risk to do so. He deserves an even bigger thank you, and he and his wife and child should be able to live in safety and well-being for the rest of their lives for being so kind and caring.

They took an enormous chance of getting killed by the Fedayeen for what they did to save that young private first class. His wife was a nurse in the hospital where the young lady was being held prisoner. He saw her and told the American military about her and helped get her out. He is a real hero, and deserves a good reward for his humanitarian effort.



Arrest wasn't the aim

I want to express my dismay and frustration at reporter Diane Dietz's portrayal (Register-Guard, March 27) of the March 26 protest at the federal building. She totally misrepresented the intent of the five individuals' presence there, particularly in the opening paragraphs of her article.

To characterize their aim as being arrested is completely false, although they were well aware of the possible consequences of their actions. The sensationalist comment that " ... they wanted ... images of police dragging them out on the evening news" is false. "We were thrilled to not be arrested," said one protester. It cheapens their well-thought-out and clearly stated goal of challenging current military action in Iraq by being present at the federal building, the site of our local connection to federal power.

The plans for their act of conscience, as the article stated, were communicated ahead of time to personnel in the federal building; their demeanor and their tactics were non-violent in the spirit of Gandhi. Although it's fair to say that not everyone understands or supports this method of drawing attention to an issue, we should be heartened as a community that there are individuals who put their hopes for peace above their fears of arrest.

My appreciation to these friends and neighbors who act with courage and with their conscientious leadings to challenge and inform us all.



Congress can stop war

What depths of shame and dishonor are we sinking to?

We attack and invade a country that has not harmed us. We will kill far more innocent civilians than combatants. We embrace assassination as a defense policy. We alienate most of the civilized world. And, sadly, we ask our young men and women to put the crosshairs of their weapons on another human being - a life-long psychologically crippling experience.

I disagree with the idea that since we are now committed to war we should stand united behind the president and not voice our views to end this war immediately. Ask yourselves: Shouldn't the German people have put a stop to Hitler after he started to invade Poland? Will we also burden our future generations with the guilt and shame of this immoral war?

This is a constitutionally illegal war. Only Congress has the right and obligation to declare war. Congress can stop this war tomorrow by cutting off all funds for it. I urge our lawmakers to do so.

We are wrong. Let's be big enough to admit it, stop the killing and bring our service men and women safely home.



Improve children's lives

We send our legislators to Salem to propose solutions to the serious problems for our state's citizens. Instead of finding solutions to protect the rights of already born children, they expend precious time on fractious bills to protect the rights of unborn children.

Where are their plans for adequate funding for our schools and health care for our children? Where is their recognition of the fact that Oregon has one of the highest rates of children who are hungry? What solutions do they have to offer for these problems?

Is this a political smokescreen to distract us from the fact that they refuse to do the hard work of telling the more fortunate in our society that they must sacrifice a little of their funds to improve the quality of life of the children who are already here?



No more pre-emptive strikes

As both war and protests continue, we cannot forget that Saddam Hussein could have avoided war by eliminating his weapons years ago. Instead he forced Iraqis to suffer under U.N. sanctions.

I am more concerned by the arrogance of our administration. From alienating most of the world to phrases like "shock and awe" to insisting on huge tax cuts during war, these people demonstrate irresponsibility daily. And now we will no longer simply defend our nation, but we will attack any nation we even perceive as being a threat to us. Patriots must fight this change in policy!

The problem is that the Republican Party is now dominated by the extreme right wing. The extreme right includes fanatics just as obnoxious as those they despise on the extreme left. Mostly graying baby boomers, their mantra when young was "If it feels good do it." Their mantra now is "If it doesn't feel good, don't do it." Taxes to support public services and to pay for our war? Doesn't feel good, so I won't do it. Diplomacy between nations to solve problems? Doesn't feel good, so I won't do it.

Under the pre-emptive strike policy, what happens when a nation like China decides that a nation like Taiwan is a direct threat? War.

We must stop this policy before the next war, we must hunt down our Sept. 11 attackers through a unified front of United Nations and we must pray that lives are spared in Iraq.



What if Russia invaded?

To understand and hear the motivation of well-intentioned citizens, we attended the March 29 "Support our Troops" rally at the Federal Building in Eugene.

Some were there because they had persons dear to them in the armed forces in or near Iraq. Others were there to counteract the larger crowds that had gathered at the same venue previously, and to show the flag. There also was a smattering of opponents of George W. Bush's pre-emptive war.

We surely know how we would react - those of us who didn't vote for President Bush and abhor the direction his administration is taking our beloved country - were the Russians to bomb our cities, maim and kill many of our fellow Americans soldiers and civilians, attempt to bring about a "regime change" and set out to eliminate our weapons of mass destruction. We would prefer to have U.N. inspectors do the latter, and we would attempt the former ourselves.

The more than $100 billion spent on this war could do a lot more good were it spent on education, universal health care, low-income housing assistance and other crying needs making us a happier, stronger society.



Lay troubled vet myth to rest

The Register-Guard's March 28 article "Latest war renews ordeal for veterans" is another perpetuation of the stereotype of the suffering Vietnam veteran.

Psychological studies are showing that the effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome diminish to very little 15 to 20 years after the traumatic event. The pitiful Vietnam vets who make news no doubt have legitimate emotional problems, but are confused as to the cause.

Seventy-five percent to 80 percent of Vietnam vets served in support units, so basically one in five experienced combat. Regardless of that fact, a distorted image was created of Vietnam veterans. They are portrayed as suffering to this day with horrible nightmares and memories, and as being unable to cope.

The myth of troubled vets is another outcome of an unpopular war. Soldiers returned home and found that their sacrifice was unappreciated, so a few took on the role of victim to gain a kind of recognition. The news media seem to be drawn to report this minority's sad, sometimes unbelievable, stories. I fervently hope truth will finally emerge: The majority of veterans aren't walking time-bombs, but instead came home, got jobs, raised families and are good citizens.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Apr 8, 2003
Previous Article:CORRECTIONS.
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