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Published: Thursday, 4/15/2004

True courage lies in facing our faults

Our heartfelt congratulations to The Blade for its courageous and hard-hitting series, "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths," which won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize for excellent investigative reporting, and challenged the government to reopen the investigation of this long-buried episode of Tiger Force atrocities against Vietnamese civilians.

This was perhaps The Blade's finest hour so far, and we hope it will lead to a tradition of relentless pursuit of the truth, even, or especially, when it is unpopular truth.

The greatest danger to a democracy comes when the press becomes a timid lap-dog to the administration, obediently parroting the received official line, thus shaping public opinion in a blind and docile approval of even the most outrageous and criminally illegal actions on the part of the government, as we have seen tragically in our destruction of Iraq.

The idea, expressed in several Readers' Forum letters, that it is treasonous to reveal atrocities committed by American troops, smacks of the suppression of criticism characteristic of totalitarian regimes, not democracies.

True greatness, in nations as well as individuals, lies in having the courage to face and admit one's own faults and mistakes and correct them, instead of blindly insisting we are pure good and our enemy is pure evil.

Our only hope of winning the "war against terrorism" may well be in taking our blinders off and honestly seeking to understand why so much of the world hates us. It is hard enough in hindsight to uncover our country's past crimes, but the real challenge of true patriotism is to recognize and correct the error of our present ways.

War itself is terrorism magnified exponentially. War brutalizes people, even Americans, turning good men into murderers. We must work much harder at developing more intelligent and humane alternatives for dealing with international problems.

PHYLLIS PALMER

Lambertville

An April Readers Digest article exposes politicians of both major parties. They love to attach expenditures for pet projects back in their home states with amendments to another legislative bill. We taxpayers are paying billions of our hard-earned dollars toward this "pork barrel" scheme. I believe it is time to make all politicians accountable and responsible for their fiscal actions, especially when it is a spending bill. When they give themselves pay raises, these same politicians will hide it in another legislative bill by attaching an amendment, too.

"Pork barrel" politics isn't new. I remember one of my high school teachers telling our class about this practice in 1942. The project of reference was titled "The Sex Life of the Watermelon Seed." Naturally we all snickered as our instructor was trying to teach us how politics and politicians operated then. The only thing different is the time element and new politicians.

Sixty-two years and trillions of dollars later, the practice continues, but it gets more sophisticated and we are the victims. I believe every registered voter should revolt by expressing our desire to halt this unfair practice to all elected officials. Just maybe we would have money to pay for educating our children, providing affordable health care, and rewarding taxpayers instead of spending our money foolishly.

NELSON BELL

Elmlawn Drive

On Memorial Day in Washington, D.C., the memorial for veterans who served some 60 years ago in World War II will be finally dedicated.

We are dying out now, but U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur made sure that the veterans who served in the "war to end all wars" will not be forgotten. On behalf of these veterans, both living and dead, we are grateful this bill got through Congress.

Today it seems strange that President Bush the elder fought to end wars, while President Bush the younger started another war that will probably not end during our lifetime.

PAUL SEROTE

River Road

We should all be very proud to live in the great state of Ohio, where our educational system stands at the very forefront of modern thinking. So keen is the state board of education's awareness of current scientific trends, and so tender its concern for the intellectual welfare of its students, that it has taken the bold step of redefining science from the study of the natural causes of natural phenomena to the critical examination of the intersection between the natural world and the divine.

Gone are the false divisions of natural and supernatural, replaced now with fearless zeal to find the hand of God wherever it may be seen.

Heartfelt kudos to the members of the board, who have turned St. Paul's admonition to become "fools for Christ" from Sunday school discussion to law of the land, and who have instituted it as an ongoing process in biology classes across the state.

Perhaps we may hope that, like the mustard seed in Christ's parable, from small things very great ones may grow.

Perhaps our state-supported medical schools will one day offer seminars titled "Prayer and the laying on of hands: critical approaches to the treatment of AIDS."

Perhaps even, if we are very lucky indeed, our law school curriculum will include "Moses and Yahweh: The theological basis of legislative power."

A great day indeed for the great state of Ohio.

Gavin Smith

Letchworth Parkway

So the Nuclear Regulatory Commission applauds FirstEnergy for its efforts toward safety in the restart of Davis-Besse! Big deal! All this pomp and circumstance after the fact. All of a sudden, the NRC is concerned with how things are run at Davis-Besse. What the NRC is failing to accept responsibility for is that it dropped the ball in the first place when a giant hole nearly ate through the reactor head.

Why wasn't it on top of that situation? Does anyone really understand the ramifications of what could have occurred?

Does Three Mile Island ring a bell?

And now the NRC has signed off on letting the ever incompetent, money-hungry FirstEnergy restart this plant.

How soon we forget the power grid situation that also seems to be the fault of FirstEnergy. Wasn't there a lack of competence in this situation, too?

Who does the NRC answer to? Is this just another example of how big business can buy the rights to anything, including our safety?

ROBIN VOIGT

Temperance

As the sole St. Joseph parishioner who formally addressed the Sylvania City Council over two years ago, recommending that the Lathrop House be saved, I am happy to report that our goal, collectively, has been accomplished.

Moving historic structures is not at all uncommon. All of the buildings on Main Street of East Toledo were moved in the name of progress. More recently a historic homestead, the Wachter House on the Art Museum grounds, was sold and moved.

Critics say moving the house destroys its most significant artifacts: the stones, and the cellar that harbored desperate and frightened African-Americans who were fleeing from a brutal, state-endorsed discrimination. While this is a very valid point, leaving the home where it stands discriminates against other groups, namely the elderly and physically handicapped. These are people who cannot descend the narrow, steep stairs and reflect on our nation's greatest sin, slavery.

Relocating Lathrop House, coupled with sensitive architectural design along the same ravine, will give everyone, black and white, young and old, physically well and physically challenged, access to the rich and proud anti-slavery history of Sylvania, and all of northwest Ohio.

JIM SMYTHE

Corey Road

We are extremely proud to have a neighbor newspaper as a Pulitzer Prize winner. You did a superb job on the series.

LONNIE PEPPLER-MOYER

President-Publisher

Monroe Evening News



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