Why is it that Serbian war criminals, who massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Bosnia and Kosovo, were prosecuted and stood trial not in Bosnia and Kosovo where the crimes had been committed, but rather in the International Court of Justice in The Hague under international law, where they were sentenced to a decade or two in five-star Norwegian prisons, whereas Saddam, who was indicted on the same charges as the Serbians - crimes against humanity - was not entitled to the same process and treatment?
The trial took place in an occupied country where the court-appointed counsel lacked adequate training in international law - according to Human Rights Watch. In addition, the defense lawyers were banned from cross-examining witnesses and three defense lawyers were murdered.
The U.S.-led coalition should have extradited Saddam Hussein to The Hague where a fair trial under international law would have taken its course. That would have been a true milestone in the pursuit of an American-style democracy in the Middle East and would have boosted the credibility of the Bush Administration and our image in the Middle East.
What a wasted opportunity to show the world what American justice truly stands for.
Correcting record on council vote
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been ongoing controversy about the vote for the president of Toledo City Council. Because my position has been misrepresented by the mayor and others within the Democratic Party, and these misrepresentations have made it into The Blade, I need to correct the record.
The fact is that I support Wilma Brown to be the president of council. I supported her in 2006, and I supported her again when we voted on Jan. 2. I was one of four council members who voted to open nominations so that council could vote on a new president.
I'm disappointed that the mayor and party officials are misrepresenting my position and my votes. Everyone knows that it is an election year for district members of council, and apparently they have decided to get an early start on the campaign.
These are the same people, of course, who supported a Republican to be president of council in 2006. I urge voters not to be fooled. The record shows who supports the principles of the Democratic Party.
Toledo City Council
Why does system ignore wrong-doing?
Recently there have been two incidents in the Monroe and Toledo areas that are taking the Rodney King route toward reporting and justice. Everybody forgot that Rodney King committed a crime that led to the legal circus.
In our area two people died because of their own errors in judgment, one in an auto accident and the other because a roof collapsed. Let us not forget that it was their own doing that led to their deaths. Throwing a bottle at an oncoming car's windshield is wrong. Stealing steel columns from a house porch is wrong.
There is something wrong with our legal system when the wrong-doing that started an incident is ignored. Two people would be alive today if it were not for their own error in judgment and they are the only ones who should be held accountable. For the families that remain, it is a tragic end of life of a loved one. That is where it should be left and ended.
Congress should cut funding for Iraq
Do you remember when our commander in chief told our soldiers the mission in Iraq was accomplished?
That was in 2003. So why on earth are they still dying there?
George Bush does not have our country's best interests at heart. Our only protection against the immorality of this administration is our new Congress. It can save American and Iraqi lives by refusing to fund any more bloodshed. It can eliminate all future damage this President is sure to inflict by removing him from office.
Only it can stop this closed-minded commander in chief from ruining hundreds more, or, more likely, thousands more lives. If they continue to fund this war, they are as guilty as George Bush.
Let this Congress know that we want our soldiers home now. And the only way to stop George Bush's war is to stop making the citizens pay for it.
Mary Ann Beaser
Program jump-starts children's education
I was happy to see that the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) program got the recognition it deserves. I applaud the YMCA for offering this valuable program for preschool children. I am the administrator for the Children's Discovery Center on Talmadge Road and we also have been incorporating the ELI program since July of 2005.
We currently have 28 students participating in this state-sponsored program. Children receive a preschool program that includes literacy learning, problem-solving skills, and hands-on activities which incorporate the Early Learning Content Standards developed by the Ohio Department of Education.
The developmental and professional health screenings provided by this program really assist parents and teachers to better understand at what level their child is functioning and how they can enhance and support this development.
I must commend the State of Ohio for supporting early education. I agree that if children receive a positive foundation to learning at an early age it will stay with them throughout their school years.
Children's Discovery Center also offers the ELI program at our downtown, Southwyck and Wolf Creek locations. I hope all eligible parents take advantage of this beneficial program and help jump-start their child's education.
Children's Discovery Center
President's largess seems misplaced
Now the President's talking about giving loans to Iraq's small businesses. America is in debt, but the Prez didn't know that. Most of Asia and the Middle East are running surpluses. Instead, the mighty U.S. is billions in the red.
Mark A. Cole
Council should share the burden
Frequently we hear about increasing the 3/4 percent income tax to 1 percent, or increases in sewer rates, water rates, or garbage pick-up fees.
Taxpayers are fed up with tax increases. The passage of the 3/4 percent income tax back in 1982 was meant to bring police and fire levels up to authorized strength after the taxpayers voted it down several times in the late 1970s and early 1980s because of a bad national and local economy.
Now that money is used in part for every pie-in-the-sky idea the mayor proposes to establish his legacy in the kingdom.
We have seen the police department downsized and discussions about downsizing the fire department by both strong mayors, citing a lack of population.
It's really simple. People are fleeing the city for the suburbs because of increased violent crime in all major cities. Toledo is no different.
The solution is equally simple. Let's put an amendment on the ballot that requires the City of Toledo to only use the 3/4 percent income tax to fund the safety forces and, for good measure, add another amendment to cut the number of City Council persons from 12 to six, one councilperson for each district. It worked before. If we are going to continue to downsize, it's time for City Council and its staff to share in the burden.
Jo Ellen Locher
A recent letter critical of Toyota forgot to mention a few important words that best describe the company: quality and customer satisfaction. This is not an opinion; it is a fact.