Who is better qualified to lead us in the war on terror over the next four years? President Bush has a strong record of leadership and steady progress over the last three years.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban was ousted and al-Qaeda training camps closed. National elections are scheduled soon and the Afghan government is aiding in the hunt for terrorists. Pakistan, which previously recognized the Taliban regime and was a harbor for al-Qaeda operatives, now is actively rounding up terrorists along its western border, including a key figure in the 9/11 attacks.
In Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda terrorists were openly active. Now, after terrorist attacks in Riyadh, the Saudis are working hard to shut down the terrorist network and dismantle al-Qaeda's effectiveness. Libya has abandoned its nuclear weapons program and allowed inspectors in to oversee their dismantling.
And in Iraq, we all know what happened to Saddam and his brutal regime. Now, schools and hospitals are opening, infrastructure is being restored, and Iraqi security forces stand with coalition forces to defeat terrorists. A constitutional form of government is being set up with national elections scheduled early next year.
All this would not have happened without President Bush leading the way.
But what qualifications does Sen. John Kerry have to offer? He served in Vietnam for four months. But then came home, threw his medals over the White House fence, and shamelessly accused American troops of wholesale war crimes. Then he spent 20 years in the Senate voting against every military appropriation bill for new weapons and most recently, he voted against providing necessities for our troops in Iraq.
It is crystal clear that President Bush has the qualifications to be commander in chief and Senator Kerry does not.
I admit it. I was unsure we would hear anything in the debate to make a difference, unsure that it would be anything but the same old same old.
What a relief. Such a pleasant surprise. John Kerry was strong and clear, clearly "winning" this debate. In the process, I feel like we all won.
Senator Kerry was articulate and well-informed. He spoke to me and others like me who have been uneasy with what the President has done and not done under the guise of ensuring the safety and honor of our country. Finally, someone with ideas about peace and safety that are the embodiment of thoughtful and careful consideration; ideas that are well-reasoned and informed by direct, actual experience with the horrors of war, and an understanding that, sometimes, such horrible things are unavoidable.
I'm embarrassed for the President. He came off as a smirky third-grader, a playground bully, mocking the kids who do the right thing, work hard, and play by the rules.
John Kerry made me proud. The debate clearly demonstrated the difference between those like Mr. Kerry who have true strength, courage, and honor and those who simply demand to get their own way and are willing to do so at others' expense but never, never at their own.
I have been planning on voting against George W. Bush for more than three years. The first presidential debate convinced me that not only is Sen. John Kerry the lesser of two evils, he is a remarkable candidate who will make an excellent president.
While Mr. Kerry appeared intelligent and dignified, Mr. Bush dodged almost every question and appeared flustered while repeating the same unconvincing sound bite over and over again.
The presidential debate gave us a clear choice. John Kerry was open, honest, forthright, and strong. George Bush was hesitant, nervous, ignorantly stubborn, and decidedly unpresidential.
John Kerry promises that our presence in Iraq is temporary. President Bush's whole life has revolved around the acquisition and sale of oil. He feels at home in the oil fields of Iraq and has no intention of leaving there.
Mr. Bush is a bully who has made too many enemies to ever win the war. Our enemies would "lose face" if they gave in to him so they will fight to the death instead.
Senator Kerry is a veteran who knows the cost of war. He is a fighter, but also a diplomat. Mr. Kerry will give us a new start, win the war, and bring our troops home.
President Bush is an inexperienced cowpoke who thinks he is a bullfighter. John Kerry is John Wayne.
There is an old saying: "I'd rather be safe than sorry."
Right now I feel very safe and I don't want to know what it feels like to be sorry.
That's why George W. Bush is the only logical choice for America.
PHILIP S. KINSEY
I respect that the author of a Sept. 28 letter, "A Republican who opposes George Bush," served in the Ohio General Assembly for 20 years as a Republican.
It appears that John Galbraith has given much thought to our current situation and has formed a very unfavorable opinion of a fellow Republican.
My service consists of only two years as a draftee, one year of which was in Korea with the 2nd infantry division, at which time I was a registered Democrat.
Although my opinion differs greatly from his, it is comforting to know we are both free to express them without fear.
The writer completely ignored the attack of Sept. 11, 2001, which required years of preparation by people who hated us prior to our current administration, and occurred only eight months after the man he is vilifying was sworn into office.
He asks, "Are we better off than four years ago?" "Are we safer?" "Is our economy stronger?"
I believe the most important question is, are we safer than we were prior to Sept. 11, 2001?
After all, the number one responsibility of the federal government is to protect us.
I, for one, feel much safer with George W. Bush in the White House.
JOHN J. SPOERL
I find it interesting that many in the religious right feel that God is on the side of one political party. I even saw a bumper-sticker that read H.W.J.V (How Would Jesus Vote?).
How would he vote? He wouldn't. He wouldn't be swayed by issues, or arguments, or ads by political groups of the day. During his time, groups actually wanted him as their leader, but he declined. Why? Because choosing a group means not choosing the other group, which in turn means not choosing one of his children. He wouldn't do that.
Interestingly enough, the extreme right forgets that he cast his ballot more than 2,000 years ago and it included all of us regardless of how we see the world or how we interpret his word.
So, if you want to vote like Jesus, you may have to stay home this election.
However, I would say to you, vote, but don't you dare cast religious aspersions on those who would vote differently than you.
Religions, all of them, are meant to heal, not to hurt. Use your faith wisely.
North Lockwood Avenue
The Blade and Mayor Ford are working to make Toledo a "danger free" city. It's already "fun free," and nearly "freedom free." And soon the city will also be "smoke free," "alcohol free," "entertainment free," and "business free." Of course, by that time Toledo will no longer be a city, it will be a village. "Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio." Wake me when it's over!
Delmer O. Gasche