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Published: Thursday, 5/14/2009

Are some levels of torture OK?

Waterboarding has been accepted as torture since the Middle Ages. It has been considered illegal, immoral and evil. We tried, convicted, and put to death enemy soldiers after World War II for torture, including waterboarding. Yet, a half century later, some in our government had our legal system devise opinions, called the torture memos, that gave legal cover to torture.

This was done at the behest of the executive and the judicial branches. However, if we had an open investigation, it is most likely that it would be found that the congressional leaders of both parties were aware of the program and, in effect, condoned it by their silence.

Dick Cheney and the proponents of torture liked the program. They claim it produced valuable information and saved American lives. If this is the only criteria used to determine if torture is acceptable, then maybe we should look at some of the things that the Nazis did in a different light.

During WWII, the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele submersed healthy young Jewish men into vats of icy water, some naked and some with various levels of clothing, to see how long they could live. They used the data obtained to save the lives of the German airmen who might crash into icy waters. They designed clothing, some insulated with human hair to save their pilots' lives.

If this program saved lives, is it justifiable torture? If this is over the top and is too evil to accept, then why should we accept evil at any level?

With the torture memos used as guidelines, it would seem that the profit-motivated private contractors hired by the CIA for interrogation and torture would have generated a lot of questionable information and probably a lot of dishonor to our country.

Prior to this, the Army's Guide controlled the conduct for harsh interrogation. It apparently served us well and honorably.

Jack Colboth

Homerdale Avenue

The GOP, that grand old party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, is on life support, needing a transfusion.

The Republican Party is not dead yet, but the pulse is weak and the heart is faint. As I reflect on the GOP, I am reminded of the word that came to the prophet Ezekiel while in the valley of dry bones: "Son of man, can these bones live again?"

My question is, will the Republican Party revive and become a viable force again or just fade away? I do not know the answer but while Sarah Palin and other political pundits are vying for the opportunity to be their party's standard bearer in 2012, four years hence there may not be a Republican Party as we know it to represent.

Nate Washington

Bricker Avenue

The American auto industry, both foreign and domestically owned, has received zero help from the Obama Administration. Under the guise of a bailout, Chrysler and General Motors have received nothing in the way of true economic guidance that would produce future growth of the industry. Ford and the foreign owned transplants will sooner or later suffer the same consequence, unless the government is serious about saving the industry and our economy and the millions of supplier jobs at risk.

Ohio auto workers work for GM, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, and others. They could be helped by returning the full tax deductibility of interest from a loan of a new-car purchase. This would only apply to automobiles that meet current CAFE standards. This would ultimately force the auto manufacturers to produce more fuel-efficient cars. Used automobiles that meet the CAFE standards of their particular year should qualify for a 50 percent deduction. Both of these deductions would be for the life of the loans.

The current one-time tax credit for a new-car purchase is a joke. Part of the home mortgage crisis was the misuse of home equity lines of credit. Because the interest was tax deductible, too many people over-extended themselves by purchasing autos and trucks with these adjustable rate lines of credit, putting further pressures on a stretched budget. Separation of the vehicle loan would help ease those pressures.

President Obama ran his campaign on helping middle class America. To date, his policies have fomented change - a power shift from rich Republicans to rich Democrats, and the middle class is waiting for that trickle-down effect all over again.

William Nichols

Whitehouse

I write today urging Congress to pass Senate Bill 511, the Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act, as well as House Resolution 616. These bills will help protect my patients' access to durable medical equipment, such as diabetic supplies, in the Medicare Part B plan.

Along with my pharmacist colleagues from across the country, I was shocked to learn that while the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently decided to exempt certain equipment suppliers from burdensome quality standards and accreditation requirements, it failed to exempt pharmacies. Pharmacies (mine included) are licensed and highly regulated, subject to stringent state laws and regulations that control the practice of pharmacy. Requiring accreditation for state-licensed, retail pharmacies is duplicative and unnecessary.

The costly and time-consuming requirements do not make administrative or operational sense for community pharmacies. CMS' accreditation requirement is redundant and could force many community pharmacies to discontinue providing Part B durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supply services to their patients.

Congress should pass Senate Bill 511 and House Resolution 616 for the sake of pharmacy patients across the country.

Mike Gladieux

Perrysburg

First, let me extend my sympathy to the elderly gentleman and his family for the beating death of his wife and the brutal injuries he received at the hand of unknown persons.

Second, I cannot believe, in this day and age of super electronics, that the 911 system does not have the resources to immediately show the name and address, plus phone number, of each call received. That poor man had to struggle through the endless questions of the operator. No excuse for that.

Third, I would hope that every elderly person would invest in an alert system. I wear mine around my neck and if I should fall or need help, it would be on the way within minutes.

It is a small cost for the reassurance it gives. It's less than the cost of a pack of cigarettes. The family could all chip in and pay for it.

A friend said one of her kids will call her every day. Wonderful, but what if something happens in the other 23 hours?

Elizabeth Thompson

Beverly Drive

Are we still laughing at Carty's antics? It was OK when he was having tantrums with his staff, but it is a different story when he does it to the citizens of Toledo. I think he is angry, and he will do as much damage as he can to the city before he leaves office. I think he is trying to break the unions, since he won't negotiate at all, and with the latest involving the city's cemeteries, it is getting more obvious.

Eileen Posadny

Oldham Drive

There is much concern, which I share, about the growing number of unwed mothers in our country.

It seems that only the gays are seeking marriage.

John A. Galbraith

Maumee



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