The gruesome discovery of two captured U.S. soldiers bodies in Iraq unquestionably shows who the bad guys are in the war on terror. The GIs were savagely tortured and mutilated beyond recognition. This barbaric act is an example of what terrorist elements would do to every American if given the chance and is a stark reminder of exactly why we are at war.
Yet, some in our society prefer to portray our military personnel as the bad guys. The likes of Jack Murtha and the liberal media continuously malign military efforts as inept, accuse our soldiers of criminal behavior, generally undermine the war effort, and even question why we are in a war. With their tunnel vision, liberals have lost focus of our primary mission which is to aggressively protect American freedom by defeating terrorism.
Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas Tucker knew their mission. They volunteered for service knowing that risks must be taken in war and were taken captive in the line of duty. They should be memorialized as heroes for defending our freedom.
The character and moral integrity of the American soldier is second to none. We can take pride in knowing how admirably they represent us around the world. We should not stand idly by and let some misguided individuals sully the name and condemn the actions of brave U.S. troops by implying they are the bad guys. Their actions trivialize the accomplishments of the slain soldiers by branding our military as the problem.
Tell the families of Private Menchaca and Private Tucker that the soldiers were part of the problem and see the reaction you d get.
Iraq has been an unjust pre-emptive war from the beginning. We are responsible for terrorists who are in Iraq now who were not there before we went in. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. We have killed thousands and thousands of Iraqi people and lost more than 2,500 soldiers. Iraq is in worse condition for us being there. We have alienated many nations and have disgraced our name. We are adding to the chaos that consumes Iraq. Bring our troops home now.
Last fall I spent two weeks as a Red Cross volunteer after Hurricane Katrina in Gonzales, La., 50 miles from New Orleans. As a registered nurse, I witnessed up front the lack of local and state preparedness for a disaster. I told myself that would not happen in Toledo.
I am disappointed to say that my experience in the past week following the local flooding disaster was not much better. Once again I volunteered at the Red Cross on Friday and Saturday. I visited homes in the 43612 and 43606 zip codes. The Red Cross handed out cleaning kits and provided food and shelter for those who could not stay in their home due to fragile health conditions.
But there were many who could not physically empty out their basements. Supposedly, the mayor s office had set up a hot line to get help but he forgot to man it over the weekend. Repeatedly the message was: Call back during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.
Just what did Mayor Carty Finkbeiner think? The disaster hit Wednesday night and on Friday he was declaring Toledo a disaster area. Yes, he did set up two command centers open till noon on Saturday. What does he think happens to his city in the heat with mold growing in the basement? I saw mold growing up basement walls already on Saturday!
I am proud to be a Red Cross volunteer. We were on the streets and out in the community all weekend. A shelter was open at Start High School. However a more coordinated community effort to help our vulnerable populations the aged, ill, and physically disabled must be on the agenda before disaster strikes again.
During the recent storm, our family watched as the water rose at the corner of our street. We had experienced flooding in our basement in the past and were quite worried it was going to happen again. It was with dismay that when we went out to look at the flooding we saw that someone, in order to avert the flooding in the street, drove over our lawn and across our landscaping.
Needless to say there were tire tracks sunk into our yard and a portion of our landscaping was destroyed. Our neighbor told us it was a mini-van. We saw similar tire tracks across a neighbor s yard and the boulevard around the corner.
Please be considerate when driving through flood waters. If you are worried about your car, back up, go the other way, or just stay at home. Don t make people who are already dealing with flooding or the threat of flooding have to deal with another problem. Such lack of consideration is disheartening.
ANNE M. DeLONG
I enjoyed reading the column about Todd Novak and the Cowlicks, and I hope they do indeed make it to the next level.
I went to high school with Todd, and remember how serious he was about music even back then. It s always good to see a local musician find success on a broad scale. Even more gratifying is that in this case the success of the Cowlicks is a result of their passion for music, and not American Idol or tabloid-style hype. Since they don t have a deal with a major record company (yet) they re not as well-known as they deserve to be, which is another reason it was good to see them given some attention in The Blade. Still, if you listen to either of their discs you ll hear musicianship and song writing that is equal to, if not superior to, anything you ll find at the top of both the country and rock charts.
We appreciate the Toledo Swiss Singers for sharing their musical heritage with the Toledo area. What a joy to listen to the lovely and lively music, under the direction of Dick Dean.
Kudos to all of those whose time, talents, and skills made the Grand Concert of Saengerfest 2006 at the Peristyle a very memorable event.
CLARENCE and EVIE BRAHIER
Marc Simon must be commended for dealing with the difficult subject of academic freedom in his June 24 Saturday Essay. But his mythical approach avoids its definition. Aristotle s adage that an unexamined life is worthless can be a start. An attempt to define would be to say that it is freedom to determine the content of knowledge, the procedure to be adopted in imparting it, and the free exercise of discussion and debate in the pursuit of truth concerning it, without fear or favor.
University autonomy has to be devoid of any type of interference from any source outside the institution insofar as it relates to this definition and its exercise in the classroom. Other activities may be regulated.
Its genesis has to be examined. Why this issue now? I served for 25 years and retired in 1991 and it was not a hot issue. Academic freedom is a function of the level of maturity of both the teacher and the taught. In turn this is a function of how much we as a nation take the time to reflect on its significance. To enjoy that freedom we must first earn and be worth it. We just can t all be obsessed with sport, sex, sensationalism, and the soap opera and keep chasing stupid labels like left, right, etc. We need to get back to reading the classics and learn to become deep thinkers and not just doers.
Above all, a man is never free unless he is in control of himself (Epictetus). Self control has never been valued in our culture. Is there any wonder we have this problem?
Deficit spending is a tax on wages not yet earned. When the rich protest that in earnest, I will protest the estate tax.
STANLEY C. THIESEN, JR.
West Alexis Road
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