And so it begins again. The steadily increasing drip, drip, drip of language intended to lull the American people's consciousness into the inevitability of another war. This time with Iran. A news bit here about a U.S. ship located off Iran's shore, a news clip there about an Iranian weapon found in Iraq, a brief mention in the State of the Union speech about pursuing meddling Iranians across the border, an administration projection of Iran's intent to gain nuclear weapons despite its insistence its ambitions are peaceful, and on it goes, all intended, by their gaining intensity, to blunt the jagged edges of Americans' resistance to another war.
Americans should be familiar with this marketing technique because it is exactly the same as the one used to drag the country to war more than 3,000 dead soldiers ago. Then, as now, we hear about WMD, terrorism, fanaticism, and secret intelligence, all amplified by a right-wing lapdog media and compliant Congress unwilling or unable to stand up to the President or vice president about authorizing troops and funding to feed the always hungry and profitable war-making machine.
So how will it end? Despite President Bush's statement that there are no plans for war with Iran and Defense Secretary Robert Gates' tentative comment of not being aware of any, a huge increase for military spending appears in the upcoming budget, and the 21,500 troop surge has somehow ballooned to nearly 50,000. The Iraq Study Group's recommendations have been dust-binned. Military generals' opinions disregarded. Targets are being identified in Iran and there is refusal of bilateral talks. My conclusion is that the will and resistance of the American people will be ignored and the path to peace of leadership, listening, and example will be supplanted by bombs, bullets, and death.
It must be a burden to be a perfect driver
In your Forum Feb. 9, a letter said that 70-year-olds should have their driver's licenses revoked because this apparently perfect driver observed 70-year-old drivers breaking the law. I'm still trying to figure out how he knew some of these drivers were 70, especially the one driving without lights at night. Driving 45 mph on I-75 is very risky, but not against the law. Speeding on our expressways is commonplace; most pay no attention to the 60 mph speed limit, even when the road is slippery.
I wonder how many drivers he has observed not using turn signals because their left hand is holding a cell phone to their ear.
The insurance companies give a break on seniors' premiums, and according to statistics, age 16-24 drivers pay 40 percent to 200 percent more.
Retesting might be of some help, but is this going to make the high-accident group drive carefully?
A 'final solution' for road safety?
In the Feb. 9 edition of The Blade, Keith VanSant offered his "final solution" to safety issues caused by older drivers. He believes driving privileges should be revoked for all over 70 years of age. On behalf of all drivers over 70, I request that those close to Mr. VanSant ensure that he voluntarily relinquishes his driver's license once he reaches that age.
Young man needs to learn patience
Keith VanSant's Feb. 9 letter sounded to me like someone pulled in front of him and his temper said we should get all the "old folks" off the road. Making a general statement like revoking the driver's license of anyone 70 or older doesn't sound like he has given any thought to the problem.
Granted, there are instances of hazardous driving by older people. However, has Mr. VanSant sat at a busy intersection and counted the number of people making turns while talking on the cell phone? How about all those people that swing left to make a right turn? How about those below 65 years old who like to come up and hug your rear bumper and blink their lights for you to move over, even though you are driving 65 in a 55 mph zone? How about younger drivers who insist that they drive at or above the speed limit, even though it's bumper to bumper traffic, or it's raining or snowing?
These are everyday observations that involve people below the age of 70. How soon will Mr. VanSant reach 70? Probably not for another 35 years, I would guess. Do we take away his license, too?
One answer, Mr VanSant, is "patience." Another is to slow down. Don't be in such a hurry and you'll find that you'll get where you are going in almost the same amount of time, much safer, and with much less stress.
Letter writer owes seniors an apology
The Feb. 9 letter from Keith VanSant made me very angry. Seventy is not old. He has no respect for his elders. What if we live in the country and have no public transportation or a family member to rely on?
I have seen more young people drive that should not even be on a bicycle. They are either on cell phones or have their radios turned up so loud they can't even hear an emergency vehicle. If he checks, I believe he will find more young people cause accidents than older careful seniors. I know many senior citizens who have been driving for many years and, like me, have never had an accident.
Shame on Mr. VanSant. He owes everyone 70 or older an apology. All senior citizens do not drive the way he described. One day he will be 70, too.
Writer thinks he has all the answers
A recent Forum writer advocated denying anyone over the age of 70 the privilege of driving. With this mentality, I would assume this individual to be in the 25 to 50 age bracket: young enough to think a person at 70 cannot function quite as well as he, and old enough to think he has all the answers. This type of individual could very well be a perfect candidate for road rage!
Ottawa Lake, Mich.
Remember when we had all the answers?
Ahhhh, Keith VanSant, thank you for your stirring memory shaker letter of Feb. 9. You helped me recall the know-it-all days of my youth when I had all the answers and personal solutions. You may now feel like you have the world by its tail. Hang on, you are in for quite a ride. Always remember your last paragraph. What you dish out has a way of coming back .
Janet H. Monarch
Driving critic will get rude awakening
I wish I could be around when Keith VanSant turns 70 and his inflated ego gets a big slap when his driver's license is taken away.
THELMA R. WOOD
Everyone's forgotten it's inhuman to kill
It seems that it is anti-Muslim to tell Palestinians to quit killing Israelis, and anti-Semitic to tell Israelis to quit killing Palestinians. Solution: Remind both Israelis and Palestinians that it is inhuman to kill, period.
In fact, while we're repeating this lesson from the Ten Commandments, perhaps we could make sure that our own leadership gets the message.
Oh, but who am I kidding? This country was founded on the graves of an exterminated indigenous people, was built by the hands of slaves and underpaid immigrants, and is currently kept moving by the middle class, which is what we have taken to calling everyone who is not the CEO of a multinational, synergistic corporation (these people, under Republican administrations, are called "entrepreneurs" or "small-business owners").
I realize this is funny but, for the life of me, I can't figure out who the joke is on.
What a sad day. To lose the voice of Molly Ivins. She will be sorely missed.