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Published: Monday, 1/31/2005

How do you explain Bush leadership?

So our commander in chief brags that he doesn't read books or newspapers. Judging from his inaugural speech, he does read comic books. How else to explain his super-hero fantasy of deposing tyranny everywhere and anywhere? Too bad he misinterpreted: "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" into: Lies, Torture, and the British Empire redux.

How else to explain an administration that initially gained the presidency by using the courts to prevent an accurate vote recount in Florida. This from an administration that cynically thwarted the voters' will by subverting successful state referenda legalizing the use of medical marijuana and euthanasia.

This from an administration that empowers the unelected bureaucrats of the World Trade Organization to regulate international trade at the expense of elected leaders and national sovereignty.

This from a President who aligns with the democracy-overthrowing military dictatorship of Pakistan (against democratic India), who turns a blind eye to the terror-funding theocracy of Saudi Arabia, and who subsidizes the sham democracy of Egypt.

This from a man who approvingly "saw into the soul" of the democracy-assassinating Russian President Vladimir Putin and who sponsored the butchers of Beijing neo-coms into the World Trade Organization.

This from a family that twice initiated wars on Iraq to make the world safe for the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia.

H.L. Mencken defined democracy as a system premised "on the people knowing what they want, and getting it good and hard." The great iconoclast questioned the "childlike faith" and "sloppy ethics" in "mobs, messiahs, and majorities." Call the madness of President Bush "Savior's Complex," in which, armed with neo-con puffery, he, not the Almighty, repeals original sin to save our fallen world.

JAMES ALAN WINTER

Waterville

Let's hope President Bush didn't mean everything he said in his inaugural address.

Like many of his predecessors dating back to Woodrow Wilson, he called for the spread of liberty and democracy throughout the world. That's a fine sentiment, but when he said, "When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you," just what does that mean? If democratic revolutionaries try to overthrow the Saudi monarchy or the Egyptian, Pakistani, and Chinese governments, will the United States government step in to help them or will we allow them to be crushed as we did in Hungary in 1956 and Iraq in 1991? If it is to be the former, then we're going to need a much larger military than we have now. If it's the latter, then our words will lose all credibility in the world.

To me, neither outcome is acceptable, so Mr. Bush needs to tone down his rhetoric, be consistent, and not promise more than he can deliver. Whatever happened to Teddy Roosevelt's dictum to "Speak softly and carry a big stick"? The motto of this president seems to be "Speak loudly and carry a medium stick."

ROBERT A. KELSO

Sylvania

Recent letters to the Forum as well as a recent column by Marilou Johanek seem to take satisfaction in the confirmation that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

While Ms. Johanek is undoubtedly attempting to become a blue-collar version of Maureen Dowd in her constant campaign to ignore fact in advancing her opinions, other readers seem unable to understand why the President won the recent election given this development.

To begin with, while our intelligence was deficient, the existence of WMDs in Iraq was one of many issues raised in the Joint Resolution of Congress in 2002 authorizing military action.

Some of these included enforcement of United Nations resolutions, the Iraqi efforts to thwart inspections, harboring terrorists (or was the presence of Abu Nidal and Abul Abbas simply reflective of a terrorist retirement home in Baghdad), brutal repression of their citizenry, hostility to U.S. forces enforcing the No-Fly zones (remember they were shooting at us), as well as Iraq's past use of WMDs and its efforts to seek a nuclear program (which was confirmed by the recent investigation).

In fact, we are at war on a worldwide basis as well as in Iraq on people who use car bombs to discourage freedom, behead people alive on videotape, and oppress those who disagree with their murderous tactics.

Let's get over the idea that the war was based solely on WMD issues. It just wasn't so, despite Barbara Boxer's lame efforts to forget the facts.

GARY M. GOLDEN

Perrysburg

Regarding the Jan. 24 article, "Church buries the ashes of fetuses," apparently folks in Boulder, Colo., are up in arms over an abortion clinic's decision to turn over aborted fetuses to a mortuary, which in turn turned over the ashes to a Catholic church, which, after years of having unannounced burials, decided to go public to help women who have had abortions grieve and mourn.

To Catholics (and other Christians) life is sacred and people deserve a proper burial. Thus, according to their beliefs, the inclusion of aborted fetuses' ashes in an anonymous burial is not just a decent thing to do, it is the morally just thing to do.

One would think being good, morally, decent people, they also include the remains of others poor souls who have been left at the morgue unclaimed or conveniently forgotten: the elderly, the mentally ill, drunks and drug addicts, battered women, prostitutes, runaways, the homeless, or vagrants.

In that case, if the Catholic church (or any other Christian assembly) comes to a decision to have a public notification of such burials so people can mourn, it is clearly in line with their belief that human life is sacred and should be honored as such even in death.

However, if they don't bury all unwanted people (and I'm betting they don't) then their public notification of the ashes of aborted fetuses is not only hypocritical and politically motivated but ghastly.

E. PRESLEY HAZARD

Upton Avenue

The citizens of Toledo are very fortunate to have the hard-working and dedicated people who are responsible for clearing our roads during a snow storm.

On Jan. 22, the plow crews were up and down Barrows Street at least three times. On Sunday they were back at it again. No one had trouble getting in and out of their driveways. On a street where we have a lot of seniors, it's nice to know that no one needs to fear Mother Nature when she visits.

As the city struggles to find answers to a multitude of problems, it is reassuring to have a department that is on top of things.

In a town that works, we know that the snow will not keep us from our Monday morning labors.

GEORGE W. WEIDNER

Barrows Street

I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the misinformation currently being put forth by news organizations regarding the current debate on Social Security. For example, your Jan. 19 editorial indicated that Social Security will be able to pay benefits until 2042, "even if nothing is done to change it in the meantime."

This fails to consider that the "trust fund" counted on in your statement is filled with IOUs from the government (i.e. you and me). You have an obligation to discuss where the money will come from to pay off the IOUs so that the "trust fund" will have assets available to pay benefits. Do you suggest additional taxes or "printing" money?

ROBERT C. WENDER

Archwood Lane

I was just wondering when my son-in law would be coming home from Baghdad. Would it be this year or maybe next year? Then it dawned on me that if we sent the President's daughters there, he would probably be heading home tomorrow.

Am I the only person who thinks that W. will go down in history as the worst president we have ever had?

JOHN KRALIK

Oregon



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