Having just passed the second anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it's time for some reflection. Liberals would have you believe that it was President Bush's idea to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The facts tell a different story.
In 1998, recognizing that Iraq posed a serious enough threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf region, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act. It declared that the "policy of the United States is to seek the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power and replace it with a democratic government." It has taken almost seven years and a new President but we did just that through Operation Iraqi Freedom.
You'd think the liberals would enthusiastically endorse this action since their leader played a major role in creating the act that led to it. But since the outset, their reaction has been to actively criticize the U.S. military's every move in Iraq and engage in hateful and vicious attacks on the President.
Their hypocritical actions represent another instance of denial that the events of the 1990s have any bearing on what has happened since 9/11 and that Saddam's brutal regime was a menace to the world.
We are fortunate to have a President who recognized the threat Saddam posed and followed through on the 1998 declaration.
The Blade's April 7 front-page photo of the Bush family, Bill Clinton, and Condoleezza Rice kneeling before the Pope's bier made me wonder what those American dignitaries were thinking as they prayed beside the remains of the world's moral leader. In the months before the attacks on Iraq, John Paul had prophetically pleaded, with both administrations, quoting Paul VI: "Never again war, no, never again war, that takes the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing "
The first invasion killed an estimated quarter of a million Iraqi civilians in three months time. The second, tens of thousands.
In the months and weeks before the second invasion, Ms. Rice repeatedly misrepresented U.S. intentions, offering rationale for yet another massive slaughter of innocent lives in the name of weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist; in the name of replacing a dictator whose atrocities had been supported by the U.S. for years.
Bill Clinton's tenure created a record-breaking number of childhood deaths - thousands every month - from the cruelest sanctions ever imposed on any nation. A total of 1.5 million children perished from imposed starvation, a silent genocide.
Today, 8 percent of Iraqi children are severely malnourished; a bloody, endless occupation rages on with uncontrollable chaos producing thousands more Iraqi civilian deaths; 1,550 Americans have died, and tens of thousands more have suffered debilitating mental and physical illness.
Is it conceivable that John Paul's life could yet make a difference in America's tragic Middle East policy?
ANNE MARIE ABOWD
Once again, a Blade editorial criticized the progress of the independence of Iraq despite the fact that progress is clearly being made. Would it hurt you to acknowledge that the freedom of Iraq is working?
Now you are saying that it is taking too long and that the "road ahead still looks rocky." Well, I would say that the independence of a nation is going to be rocky. I cite as an example our own history. The American Revolutionary war ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. It was not until Sept. 17, 1787, that the U.S. Constitution was written and then not until 1789 before it took effect.
You criticize how different sectors of the Iraq population (the Shiites and the Kurds) want different roles of the government. Well, our second and third presidents saw completely different roles of our government. One saw a country where the government was small and the states had autonomy and the other saw a country where the government was powerful and gave the states little room to govern themselves.
How effective were we? Well, in the original constitution one sector of our population (blacks) were only considered 3/5ths of a citizen - without any voting rights. Our population was so divided that 87 years later we were in a civil war. Our road to independence was rocky, but I'll take that road to freedom any day.
MATTHEW C. SMITH
We are facing a grotesque federal deficit, the wealthy have already been given enormous tax breaks, and now Congress is planning to eliminate the estate tax. This will cost us $290 billion over the next 10 years, lost revenue that will add to the tax burden of us middle-class taxpayers.
Osama bin Laden said his goal is to bankrupt this country. No wonder he isn't wasting his resources on another attack. With our Congress and the White House as his financial partners, his goal can be achieved while he sits back and lets them do the dirty work
When are they going to exhibit some fiscal responsibility to the voters who elected them rather than favor corporate America with more tax cuts?
MARY ANN BEASER
A Forum writer questioned why Steve Pollick (The Blade's outdoors editor and a hunter) was appointed to the Toledo Zoo task force. I have a simple answer: It makes sense.
While most suburbanites prefer an armchair documentary awareness of nature, hunters are the "doers" in the conservation world.
Ducks Unlimited has preserved more than 10 million acres of wetlands, and Pheasants Forever has restored 1.5 million acres of bird habitat. This involves hard work, and these are just two of many groups.
Think about it. Does a hunter really want to wipe out an animal population so there is nothing left to harvest? This "old west" view of hunters shows a complete misunderstanding about what modern hunters and hunting are all about.
The writer's view also ignores the fine work of Ohio Division of Wildlife and Department of Agriculture biologists throughout the state who work hard to ensure that proper harvest limits are established to maintain healthy populations. Well known zoo officials such as Jack Hanna, director emeritus and former executive director of the Columbus Zoo and star of Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, advocate wildlife management by Division of Wildlife professionals.
The writer's rather simplistic views actually further highlight the need for zoos and environmental education. If the writer really wants to help wildlife, perhaps he should join one of the fine hunter organizations devoted to wildlife conservation.
The No Child Left Behind Act does have a clause requiring public schools to release information about students to military recruiters. However, there is an "opt-out" clause in which parents can request that their child's name, address, and telephone not be released without the parent's permission.
The American Friends Service Committee has an excellent article that all parents should read to know their rights and the rights of their students. It can be found at: http://www.afsc.org/youthmil/news/nochild.htm
Your editorial, "Shifting the burden," started at the wrong place.
The state's fiscal problems are created by the federal government, which has decreased greatly the amount of money it gives to states in support of education, medical care, welfare, etc.
All we have to do is pretend that we have millions of dollars and do not need federal help. The President will be sure to throw a few million (or billion) our way.