A June 19 editorial stated, "It is clear that if anyone wishes to deal with the Palestinian side in moving forward a Middle East peace process, Hamas is it, whatever one thinks of it. Hamas has made it clear through its political and now military victory that it speaks for the Palestinians."
Yet the charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel. They do not simply desire land for the Palestinian people. They desire the death of Israelis. Hamas receives substantial economic and military support from Iran, whose leader also vows to "wipe Israel off the map."
Hamas suicide bombers have killed hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians. How does one negotiate with a terrorist organization that calls for your destruction? Should we negotiate for the death of only some Israeli Jews? And what is to become of the more moderate Palestinian Fatah supporters, who control more territory than Hamas, respect prior peace agreements with Israel, and desire a peaceful solution?
Are they to be politically sacrificed in favor of the Hamas suicide bombers? Nazi Germany was also an elected government, claiming to speak for the people. The Nazis, too, vowed to destroy the Jews. Would The Blade have been in favor of negotiation with them as well?
A recent letter writer complained that "liberals need to wake up to the threat of Islamists." I think we are all wide awake and well aware of that threat to our liberty, but we must also be alert to the threat to our Constitution that comes from President Bush and his right-wing supporters. They would have us junk the Bill of Rights with its guarantees of indictments, the right to be informed of accusations, and a public trial by jury. Fortunately, we still have an independent judiciary and now a legislature that is standing up to this abuse of power by the executive branch of government.
With respect to historical lessons from Vietnam, we need to go back not to the 1960s, but to 1954. At the end of World War II, Vietnamese nationalists led by Ho Chi Minh declared their country's independence from the colonial rule of France. They essentially copied what we did in 1776 when we declared independence from England.
How did the United States respond to this Vietnamese action? We ignored it and supported France. Just think. If we had been true to the ideals we expressed in our Declaration of Independence, we would have sided with the Vietnamese and millions of lives (Vietnamese, French, and American) would have been spared over the next 30 years.
Americans who oppose the war in Iraq are not "cowards and malcontents." On the contrary, they are true patriots who believe in the principles of America, in what Ronald Reagan frequently referred to as the "shining city upon a hill." These principles do not include invading and forcing our way of life on other countries.
The policies of the Bush Administration have tarnished the image of our "city upon a hill." Hopefully we can repair the damage and restore the luster in 2008.
Robert A. Kelso
I am astounded, and saddened, to read in The Blade that only about 20 percent of the residents of Toledo have pledged to recycle. The city has made it so easy! Slap a sticker on a container, fill it with all recyclable items, no separation of plastics, metals, etc. necessary. Even the most indolent individuals shouldn't have a problem with this program. When one considers the impact on our environment and what our children and grandchildren may have to deal with, why wouldn't anyone recycle? Perhaps our administration should have made the incentive a little more enticing: Those who do not recycle will pay double, those who uphold the pledge will have free garbage pickup.
It was refreshing to see the Albanians give a hero's welcome to President Bush. The Albanians expressed great love and appreciation for Mr. Bush and the United States. Albania is now embracing democracy and it eagerly looks to our President and nation as a role model. This predominantly Muslim nation and its prime minister, Sali Berisha, are proving that democracy and capitalism will work.
Mr. Bush's portrait has been placed on numerous stamps and the Albanians have named a street in front of their parliament building in honor of him.
Most of the former Soviet empire is experiencing economic growth under freedom and capitalism. Self-serving liberals in our nation are embracing the very socialism that once ruled Albania and the rest of the Soviet empire with an iron fist.
The naysayers doubted democracy would succeed in the former Soviet block and they now offer the same cowardly response about Iraq as well. The disastrous Carter administration felt that we must work with the Soviets and co-exist.
Thankfully, President Reagan embraced freedom and capitalism and unshackled both our nation and defeated the Soviet Union.
Armed with their revisionist U.S. history, the Democrats offer the same doom and gloom assessment of our world-class economy and freedom. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other liberals attack and name-call President Bush because of his strong stand for defending freedom.
These "neo"-Democratic leaders may use more "enlightened" terms for their "new ideas" to share our nation's resources and restrain freedoms. These plans are straight out of Marx's "Communist Manifesto." If liberal programs continue to be implemented, we may some day, like the Albanians, welcome a great world leader who embraces the values of freedom and capitalism.
Will the name of a business on the side of the police car that stops the owner, official, or employer of that business for drunken driving, speeding, or a more serious crime have a bearing on the justice that is meted out then or later in a court room?
Where are all the non-smokers? We are now six weeks into the enforcement of this over-the-top ban and all I see is our business down 25 percent to 30 percent. Those are real numbers and they hurt. Try living on 30 percent less income. Most people can't. From our single-mother bartenders, our cook, my wife, and myself, thanks.
The Blade and everybody else behind this ban continue to inflate numbers and distort facts. There was about a 50 percent turnout of registered voters, and 58 percent voted for Issue 5. That means about 29 percent of registered voters dictated to the rest of us how we must live and do business.
How did this become "a majority"?
Ohioans are being led like lambs to slaughter. This isn't going to stop with the smokers. They were just the test case. People who enjoy alcohol, are overweight, own a gun, or are in a union, are already in line.
Who and what is next?
It's the re-engineering of our society. It ain't pretty and it certainly isn't freedom. I hope we haven't all overslept.
John J. Names
Concerning the chronic shortage of blood for the Red Cross, here are a few ideas that could help end that shortage.
For those who get into a little "mess" with the law - a "fine" of one to five units of blood donated over a period of time. (Instead of a "cash" fine.)
For those who could use financial help paying city, state, federal income taxes, and property taxes, a credit of say $100 per unit of blood could be applied.
For young people in college, $100 credit per unit toward paying off their student loan.
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