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Published: Friday, 3/14/2003

Iraq is not direct threat to America

With or without the United Nations' blessing, President Bush is about to unleash a war that may kill tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, cost the American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, make most of the world's population hate us, and destroy the U.N. His justification? He claims that Iraq is a “direct threat” to the American people.

I'll let the reader decide if Mr. Bush's claim is credible that Iraq, a desperately poor country of 24 million, half of them children, with an economy less than 1 percent the size of ours and an army far weaker than during the first gulf war, equipped only with primitive short-range missiles, is a “direct threat” to the most powerful nation in history, some 5,000 miles away.

More than 80 percent of Europeans and most Americans oppose a war without U.N. approval. If the opposition in the United States is smaller, this is attributable to two factors: The erroneous belief that Iraq is linked to 9/11, and the one-sided pro-war and pro-Bush reporting by our mass media.

But if Iraq is no threat to us and is disarming, one can only conclude that Mr. Bush's war is merely a smokescreen for his real agenda: To reshape the Middle East in our image, make the rest of mankind cower in fear of America's military might, and distract us from long-neglected domestic problems, such as a disastrous economy, corporate corruption, huge and rising federal deficits, a crisis in health care and education, and a continuing transfer of wealth from average Americans to Mr. Bush's super-rich political benefactors.

There is only one force on earth powerful enough to stop this insanity: The American people. Only if ever larger numbers of us demonstrate our revulsion at President Bush's reckless rush to war will we be able to stop it.

ERHARD KOCK

Manchester Drive

Food Town store will be sorely missed

When Art Modell moved my beloved Browns out of Cleveland, I never understood. Now I see Spartan is closing my beloved Food Town. Not only will I miss shopping at the Sylvania/Douglas store (they have the thickest pork chops), but I'll miss the men and women who have helped me over the years. It's always the people we forget about in these things. They will be missed!

CHIP WILLIAMS

Fir Lane

In my layman customer opinion, I believe Spartan is an accountant-driven food wholesaler and clueless in the role of storeowner.

For a year before Spartan bought Food Town, I noticed prices steadily rising. This amplified Food Town's perceived growth potential. Spartan's accountants should have caught that - their first mistake.

After the acquisition I watched as prices as much as doubled. One item I purchased regularly climbed from $1.39 at Food Town (99 cents at The Pharm), to $1.69 at Food Town, and finally $1.99 in less than two months. Meanwhile it still sells for 99 cents at The Pharm. That's a second mistake.

Underestimating customer attitudes is a third. A single, working mother on a food budget watches angrily as grocery prices climb 30 percent to 100 percent while stores are revamped with her dollars. Specialty coffee and fish departments are added to her blue-collar neighborhood store.

Yet deli department hours are cut, making it impossible to buy prepared deli foods for her family's late dinner. Store layout is turned inside out so her path to familiar areas for repeat purchases is eliminated. Is she going to adapt? Not if there's a Kroger nearby with lots of loss leader sale items every week.

Wal-Mart does one thing differently than Kmart. It keeps net-profit-delirious accountants under control and puts best dollar value first and foremost, which builds consumer loyalty and sales volume. Do the common sense math; less profit on high total sales is far better than high profit on no sales. Wal-Mart is on top and Kmart is barely alive.

Spartan could learn a big lesson there. Too bad it didn't before it destroyed Food Town and the jobs of 600-plus employees.

MARK BILGER

Lambertville

Calling the Iott and Churchill families:

There are 13 convenient grocery stores in the Toledo area that we would love to have you both own and operate. These grocery stores have a lot of loyal customers who will be happy to support a Toledo-owned and operated business, and we can only hope that you will consider serving our community again with a multitude of stores. It only makes sense to support a local company that supports our community events in addition to hundreds of faithful employees and their jobs. Please consider coming to our rescue.

JOHN PAVLICA, JR.

Elmhurst Road

Do the Toledo Mud Hens know the fate of the remaining Food Town stores? Check out the online Hens' 2003 promotion schedule and you will see that the old familiar Food Town-sponsored events have all been changed to The Pharm.

I guess this is typical, considering the games Spartan big wigs have played over the past three years of Food Town ownership with employees, customers, and shareholders. Looks like they are down to their last game with a disastrous first three seasons of pathetic, inept attempts to run a hometown grocery business.

Instead of firing some of the first string employees right after taking over, the Food Town team (employees) should have booted out their clearly inexperienced wannabe new coaches. It's sad that the many dedicated Food Town employees have to look to a baseball schedule to realize their fate, instead of being treated fairly and honestly by Spartan owners.

CHRISTOPHER TERRY

Whitehouse

I can't believe Gov. Bob Taft let the state's financial deficit go to pot. His corrective action will cause financial hardship for many Ohio residents. His proposed tax increases will hit the poor, the unemployed, and seniors trying to live on Social Security. A better solution to this problem would be to increase the state income tax.

I know that an income tax increase would be against the Republican Party's code, but please increase the state income tax until the budget shortage is corrected.

RICHARD TABBERT

Pine View Drive

I was very dismayed to see that there were people who submitted their names to be on the Toledo Public Schools Building Committee who were not residents of the city of Toledo school district.

As a taxpaying resident of the district, I strongly suggest to Jim W. White, Jr. that he either mandate that they be a resident of the Toledo School District or move into the district.

I am tired of getting things crammed down our throats by non-TPS members. Because of this misleading and unnecessary levy, I have already begun looking for a house outside of Toledo. I will never support another TPS levy. I am tired of paying large property tax bills for schools so those who don't can send their kids anyway.

BOB STILLION

301st Street

I do not want our soldiers to fight and die for their country. I want Iraqi soldiers to die for their country.

KIP BROWN

Cherry Hill

If Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda are as chummy as we are being led to believe, why didn't the 9/11 hijackers learn to fly the jets in Iraq?

BILL PIEPER

117th Street



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