I agree with the Jan. 8 letter writer: It cannot be easy being a pacifist. I would find it hard to look at myself in the mirror if I were a peer of these so-called pacifists.
What most of them don't realize is that one can advocate peace but still understand the need for aggressive military action, especially when it means defending the virtues and ideals of the United States. No one wants to see military action. But one also has to have the ability to see when it is necessary.
War is not pretty. War should be avoided at all costs. But, when our country is brutally attacked by an unprovoked foe, what choice do we really have? Our foes are not pacifists at all. Do you think Osama bin Laden will stop his lackeys from hijacking planes and slamming them into buildings just because we say “let's be friends”?
To me, pacifism is a copout. Rather than doing the tough thing and making the difficult decision to defend our way of life, pacifists would rather stick their head in the sand and hope for peace. Folks, it simply doesn't work that way.
In our war efforts, the American military and its leaders have worked long and hard to prevent the death of innocent civilians. Sadly, in any war effort, civilians are put in harm's way and sometimes killed. Let's not forget, thousands of our innocent civilians were put in harm's way, and over 3,000 were killed. If we keep our heads in the sand, that number will climb exponentially.
A Jan. 8 letter writer, an acknowledged pacifist, must have crossed eyes when she disregards every news reporting agency and pins her opinion on a professor from the University of New Hampshire. This fellow quotes civilian casualties of 4,000 with absolutely no definition of whom he identifies as “civilian” or the source of his “information.” If the opposition forces take their families into harm's way, they can hardly be considered “civilian.” Afghan civilians with good sense would avoid areas of combat.
I've had enough of people spouting “statistics” from an easy chair. If the writer and the professor want facts, I suggest that they visit the citizens of Afghanistan, and with a closed mouth and open mind and ears, hear and absorb the feelings of the people being freed from the tyrannical terrorists that formally “governed” them.
A recent Readers' Forum letter said that we are not being told the truth about Afghanistan. The writer stated that the Pentagon has denied reports of civilian casualties and the media isn't reporting the true number of civilians killed during the war. She said that a professor in New Hampshire has confirmed close to 4,000 civilian deaths. She also mentioned how a commencement speaker was booed off the stage for questioning our government's actions in Afghanistan.
First, the Pentagon has said all along that civilian deaths are a regrettable part of war. In some cases, civilians are put in military installations knowing that they will be bombed. They use these deaths to try to say we are targeting civilians.
Second, the media aren't reporting concrete civilian death numbers because there have been so many conflicting reports and nobody really knows. How does a professor in New Hampshire really know the true numbers? Does he carry a bias in his research? Are his sources telling the truth?
Third, a commencement speech isn't the setting to voice your political views. The person deserved to be booed off the stage.
It's obvious that the writer is against the war on terrorism. Most Americans see the big picture and support the war. I would love to know her solutions to fighting terrorism other than war. Do we sit back and do nothing while these people plot a chemical attack in the United States that could kill millions?
Sometimes war is the only solution and regrettably, innocent people die.
In response to your Jan. 7 editorial pertaining to the City of Toledo's modification of the Christmas tree recycling program, I would like to bring some additional information to the attention of your readers.
In 2001, the City of Toledo decided to discontinue the two-year pilot program of collecting Christmas trees for recycling at the curb and instead use collection points for those residents desiring to recycle their trees.
In the future, we will continue to evaluate different recycling options, including our Christmas tree recycling program, if greater participation is deemed possible.
In the past, participation was minimal, and the taxpayers of Toledo were incurring a cost of over $5 per tree to provide this service. Since we needed to send out special crews and vehicles to cover the entire city every week for three weeks, and only collected 10 percent of the households, the continuation of this program did not seem fiscally prudent.
This is not to say that the Division of Solid Waste does not support the recycling of Christmas trees as well as recycling of all household items.
The recycling efforts of residents in the City of Toledo continue to be minimal, and during the next year it will be our intent to further encourage recycling participation throughout the City of Toledo.
We will continue to provide bi-weekly pickup of plastic, glass, and paper products, and under leadership of Mayor Ford's administration, will review our Christmas tree recycling program in 2002 to determine how we can make this and all our recycling programs better serve our community.
All residents of the City of Toledo are encouraged to participate in this program and extend the life of our municipal landfill into the future.
ROBERT R. REINBOLT
Director of Public Service
City of Toledo
I wondered then after only 35 percent of the students meeting the proficiency test passing score, how they would have the nerve to pat themselves on the back.
Again, we find out the teaching is as poor as ever, and the system is on the critical watch list with two-thirds of the students in a state of ignorance. If this were a business, the teachers would be fired or get a drastic pay cut until their “performance” was up to par. Can we now take their raise away?
This has been suggested before and it deserves merit: Run the schools like a business and get these burned-out teachers either up to par or out the door. It is easy to blame the parents or the students but other schools in similar surroundings do much better.
Last year I was talking to another parent who had kids in Washington schools like mine. She said they moved a year ago to a Toledo school district, and her kids were struggling to get C's before, but now in Toledo schools they get straight A's due to the education level taught there.
She stated that “if you want your kids to look good but not learn much, send them to Toledo.”
I hope the teachers out there who are upset by this letter use the energy in their teaching program instead of a “pity us” letter in rebuttal.
Bottom line: our schools are the pits and need rescue.
So 60 is elderly? Not on your life
In your Jan. 7 editorial, “Hold the pickles - please,” you mentioned that an “elderly gentleman” threw a fit. Then you went on to say “the 60-year-old behaved like ...” Excuse me? Sixty years old? Elderly? My dad at 87 was elderly. To be eligible for some senior citizen benefits one must be at least 65.
You may think I'm overly age-sensitive. The truth is I'm 63 and would not choose to be younger had I that option. But I'm definitely not elderly and don't plan to be for quite some time. Hold that adjective next time, please?