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Published: Monday, 5/3/2004

Reining in an overreaching President

The coming presidential election will not merely be about choosing between different political philosophies. This time we will be called upon to safeguard our Constitution against an incumbent who is prone to circumvent it.

Never mind that this President's social and economic policies are completely skewed toward the very rich and big business, that his environmental legislation is written by the polluters, that he is hostile to Social Security and Medicare. This alone would be reason enough for anyone not independently wealthy to reject him and his party in November.

But the issue that transcends all others is that this President duped Congress and the people into supporting an unjustifiable war by presenting evidence he knew or should have known to be unreliable. Iraq's alleged threat to our national security was a lie, the weapons of mass destruction are still missing, and the claimed linkage between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda was fictitious.

Now Mr. Bush tells us that the real reason for invading Iraq was his desire to impose democracy. Hundreds of our soldiers and thousands of Iraqis are dead and many thousands are crippled, because he suddenly got the urge to democratize Iraq. And in his second term, what's next on his target list? Pakistan? China?

What all this comes down to, of course, is the will of the American people to get at the truth. Will we reject a president who, without seeking our informed consent, plunged us into the bloody quagmire and financial black hole of this needless war, or will we allow ourselves to be mesmerized by deceptive political ads because we are too lazy to get the facts?

We will have to wait until November to see if we have what it takes to defend government by the people against an overreaching president.

ERHARD KOCK

Manchester Drive

Is John Kerry actually as deficient in understanding and communicating as he appears to be? He could have left the whole issue alone, but his compulsion to render every news event in some twisted partisan manner critical of the Bush Administration demanded that he comment on the release of photos showing the coffins of American soldiers being returned from Iraq.

After awkwardly expressing how he was moved by the sight of rows of flag-draped caskets, Mr. Kerry wasted no time in condemning the decision to fire those responsible for violating a policy that has been in effect since 1991. He further attempted to charge that this incident was another example of the Bush Administration's unwillingness to be truthful with the public.

John Kerry always creates more questions than he answers. Shouldn't his purported "sensitivity" to images of our fallen soldiers extend also to the families of those slain warriors for whom this rule was intended to protect? Are military regulations and decorum to be ignored? Imagine an army where following orders is optional.

What exactly is President Bush being untruthful about? The casualty lists in Iraq are reported every day. John Kerry should take time to reflect on the condition of his own soul. Has he become so hardened after 30 years of disrespecting the American serviceman that he is oblivious to how his comments are perceived? Where is the humanity in exploiting dead soldiers to advance his own personal ambition?

CHUCK BUSCH

Fredericktown, Ohio

The Bush Administration doesn't want media attention paid to the caskets of soldiers out of respect to the families of the dead, but the President holds a press conference to discuss the death of former Arizona Cardinals defensive back Pat Tillman to pay respect to the family after Tillman was killed in Afghanistan.

Doesn't the following scenario seem more likely?

President Bush doesn't want pictures taken of dead soldiers' caskets because it is bad for his re-election bid, but he holds a press conference to discuss a famous dead soldier because it is good for his re-election bid.

It is unfortunate the President feels it necessary to use the death of our nation's finest as a political poker chip.

Each time the President tries to make himself look noble by associating himself with the great men and women who are actually fighting this war, he looks like a fool. Simply put, when it comes to the virtues of honor, courage, loyalty, and discipline, he just doesn't belong.

RICK RETTIG

North Lockwood Avenue

In the April 19 Readers' Forum, Craig Palmer, executive director of the Summit YMCA indicated that his "fitness center" is located 0.8 of a mile from The Blade building, just a tad farther than Mud Hens Stadium, which is 0.6 of a mile away. What he didn't say was that the restaurants at the Docks are 0.9 of a mile away from The Blade building.

Toledo's growth depends on big picture thinking. We can begin by visualizing an expanded downtown area. How about from the new I-280 bridge to the Erie Street Market? And from the art museum to the Sports Arena and the restaurants at the Docks?

This new "picture" of downtown gives Jim Donnelly a "new" downtown to market to potential visitors, and The Blade gets its health club in a downtown location.

JERRY JAKES

Flanders Road

Your reporting on "Poll has Catholics split between Bush, Kerry" lacked pertinent information.

Not so long ago a California bishop told then-Gov. Gray Davis he could not campaign as a Catholic because he supports abortion. The same applies to John Kerry, regardless of the opinions from dissenting bishops. Senator Kerry, like Ted Kennedy, is divorced and remarried and should not be receiving communion.

Seems to me that any Catholic voting for Mr. Kerry is giving him the power to vote for abortion. Are those voters supporting abortion, too, and should they receive communion?

D. RADON

Sylvania

When Toledo's smoking ban was put into effect, many bar owners tried a scam to get around it. They failed to circumvent the law. And law-abiding citizens obey the law.

Now, after the legislature passed the concealed-carry law, it's the government officials who are scamming and obfuscating. Our sheriffs in northwest Ohio counties (Lucas, Wood, Fulton) are dragging their feet in accepting the documents needed to qualify for a license. In other counties in Ohio there has been no trouble (Defiance, Hamilton, Hancock). Other government entities are banning the ability to carry a weapon on buses and in parks and libraries. A court may ultimately decide.

Does this not sound a little hypocritical to you? On the smoking ban the politicians want us to obey the law and on CCW they want us to ignore it.

HARRY WATSON

Brookfield Drive

After reading Amjad Hussain's dismal column, "Our failures in Iraq should be no surprise," it was a breath of fresh air to read the article "6 honored as heroes for efforts to save lives."

Living in a county outside of Toledo there would have been no way of knowing of the bravery of these people and the others noted.

PEGGY J. RINEHART

Mt. Blanchard, Ohio

Teresa Earnhart successfully lobbied for legislation - eventually signed by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush - making it a felony for a medical examiner to make autopsy photos public.

Now Jeb Bush's brother George wants to treat dead soldiers like race car drivers. Hide the evidence. Cover it up. Keep the ticket sales high.

Maybe he could sell a few blood-covered T-shirts and bobble heads:

"My dad went to Iraq and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

ALFRED BROCK

Canton, Mich.



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