I oppose the war. I guess that makes me a liberal, pacifistic, pinko, cheese-monkey-loving idiot. I oppose the war also because I'm a Christian and I take seriously my understanding of the Gospel message of Jesus. Other Christians will differ. I accept that.
I'm retired, but I spent 26 years in a law enforcement position. Even though I knew the likelihood of ever using my weapon was very low, I also had to be clear in my mind each day when I strapped on the gun that I would not hesitate to use it if there was a clear and imminent threat to my life or another's.
I do not believe the conditions were met by our government that justified using deadly force. There was no imminent threat to our country. I am not opposed to intervening to prevent genocide such as Nazi Germany or Kosovo. We probably should have intervened in Rwanda.
Granted, Saddam is a ruthless dictator and perhaps should have been stopped when large-scale atrocities were occurring, but that is not the case now. Most of the current suffering in Iraq more directly resulted from U.N. sanctions.
Pre-emptive strikes may make sense militarily but do they morally? There are many conceivable threats in the world. I believe inspections were yielding positive results, but the U.S. invaded primarily because of military considerations.
Finally, I am skeptical of our government's intentions and honesty. Is it based on wild conspiracy theories? No, it is based on history. The Gulf of Tonkin, Watergate, Iran-contra, and the Lewinsky affair are the most well-known examples of our leadership lying. It happens.
Some believe I'm wrong to speak out. I believe I'd be wrong if I didn't. I love our country, but I love humanity more.
I am haunted by the March 23 front-page picture of the Kokensparger family. My heart goes out to this family and all others who have loved ones in the Middle East at this time, and especially to the children.
Most heartbreaking was the expression of little Max, whose father is a Marine. That picture speaks volumes to the sadness children feel when families are separated, with loved ones in harm's way.
While we pray for wisdom and insight on the part of our leaders, and God's guidance, blessing, and protection of the coalition troops, we must also remember their families, who surely are under extraordinary stress, that their fears be replaced by faith and hope for the safe return of their loved ones. Prayer is our only hope in times such as this.
HELEN J. ROFKAR
Those who want to justify the Iraq war by comparing Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler have got it all wrong. While Hussein is clearly despicable, his weakened and declining regime posed little threat to his neighbors and virtually none to the United States.
A more accurate and instructive analogy is that between President George W. Bush and another Texas president, Lyndon B. Johnson. Both presidents used their accidental popularity after a national tragedy to bully Congress into declaring war on a distant country using a contrived excuse.
For Mr. Johnson it was the hoax of the Gulf of Tonkin and for Mr. Bush it was the “threat” of weapons of mass destruction.
Both presidents justified the loss of American soldier lives for their geopolitical policies. For Mr. Johnson it was containment of communism; for Mr. Bush it appears to be a desire to secure a strategic position in the Middle East.
Both policies depend upon an overwhelming U.S. military and the willingness and support of the local populations. Unfortunately, this policy proved disastrous under President Johnson and cost thousands of U.S. lives before it was ended in ignominy. Let us hope that our current President's war doesn't continue to hold true to this analogy.
Remember when Marcy Kaptur warned us that Davis-Besse posed a threat? NRC regulators paid no attention and they should have.
Remember when she warned us that the Iraqi soldiers would use guerrilla tactics just as our revolutionary irregulars did against the columns of better-armed British?
Military planners should have listened to Marcy.
I happen to be a very concerned citizen who lives in Van Wert, Ohio. I have become aware that the Ohio State legislators are considering eliminating the Local Library Government Support Fund. Of all the public libraries in Ohio, 75 percent of them rely on the fund for at least 90 percent of their income.
I believe our legislators received a pay increase not long ago. Governor Taft instituted a three-month hiring freeze of state employees last April to ease a budget shortfall of $1.2 billion. Since July, when the freeze was lifted, 3,895 new workers were hired or promoted. Thirteen were hired to be deputy agency directors at salaries of $76,500 per year, according to a recent article. I realize that the economy is in a down spin, but under these conditions you don't give pay increases or hire new employees.
The 2004-05 biennium budget will be voted on by the full House of Representatives Wednesday. I believe if our legislators approve eliminating or cutting the LLGS Fund extensively, they need to be voted out of office very soon. Our public libraries will be doomed.
We have generally found The Blade to be fair in its coverage of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) boycott of our company's products. But the March 27 article “Students show solidarity with farm union” did not fully represent our company's position.
We believe FLOC's insistence that Mt. Olive Pickle Co. participate in collective bargaining negotiations on behalf of other employers' employees is inappropriate. We believe farmers and farm workers have the right to determine for themselves whether a labor union is in their best interests. We will honor whatever decision is made, as we did with our Ohio cucumber supplier, who signed a FLOC contract several years ago.
Mt. Olive supports the fair treatment of farmers and farm workers. We have a history of encouraging good practices among farmers, and of working toward improved working conditions for farm workers in North Carolina. We note that the rally highlighted the death of Raymundo Hernandez, a farm worker who died in North Carolina in 1995. Mr. Hernandez was working on a tobacco farm that did not have any relationship or connection to our company. Since the start of the boycott, we have objected to FLOC's use of this very tragic event to promote its campaign against Mt. Olive.
We do have concerns that the March 26 event targeted young people with a one-sided boycott message that misrepresented our company. We believe the city's youth should have the opportunity to learn that all issues have differing viewpoints and perspectives. That is particularly true in this case, and we welcome opportunities to discuss our position.
Mt. Olive Pickle Co.
Mt Olive, N.C.
How can anyone condone this war?
The March 30 front-page picture showing the military doctor cradling an injured Iraqi child speaks a thousand words.
After seeing this picture, I don't understand how anyone can condone this war. Killing and wounding innocent children is never right. No matter what race, religion, or nation of origin, no child should ever have to know this fear. As a mother, my heart is breaking. This is a child who is loved as much as I love my child.