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Adventures in Iraq

Regarding Dan Hanchey's letter, "Just the news, please," in the Aug. 25 issue: Even Mr. Hanchey's questionable use of popularity as a criterion of newsworthiness should be satisfied by the latest public opinion polls, in which the majority of respondents hold what he chooses to call "the anti-American administration minority view" regarding our adventures in Iraq.

Further, Mr. Hanchey's attempt to make light of the U.S. military death toll in Iraq by comparing it to the number of domestic traffic casualties is odious on a couple of counts, and seems a far cry from the "support our troops" attitude that he espouses. By that logic, shouldn't he condemn the whole "War on Terror," when fewer people were killed on 9/11 than die every month on our roads?

What comfort should it be to a grieving family member that so many are killed on our roads? Why ignore non-U.S. deaths in Iraq -- for example, the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians? And why not direct the $200-plus billion that we borrowed for Iraq towards reducing that awful monthly traffic death toll?

-- Tom Fagan

Colorado Springs

Lots of vacations

Yes, Mr. Hanchey, more Americans may be killed in traffic accidents each month than have been killed in the Iraq war. However, there's something you're overlooking. No one is ordered to drive anywhere or to fly anywhere or to even leave their home if they so choose. We all do that at our own risk. Our young men and women are being ordered to fight a war that has no justification.

Yeah, Saddam is a bad, bad man. There are lots of bad, bad men in charge of many countries in the world. Take a look at a few countries in Africa, South America and Central America. I don't see us running to the aid of those countries. I guess maybe because they don't have any oil? Just a guess, though.

Being anti-war, anti-Bush and anti-Bush administration is not unpatriotic. I support our troops 100 percent -- always have, even before it was "cool." I'm very patriotic and I love my country. However, I do not agree with the way it's being run. Never forget the president and his administration work for US -- you and me. He seems to think it's the other way around. He's by far the worst president in U.S. history, on all fronts.

Putting the war aside, what has he done domestically? He's accomplished absolutely nothing worthwhile. Well, he does manage to take a lot of vacations. I'll bet there are a few soldiers in Iraq who would love a vacation or just a phone call home. Heck, they would probably just be happy with decent pay, so their families wouldn't need to rely on food stamps to survive.

I'm very thankful for the Independent. It's very difficult having moderate views when you live in a city controlled by the ultra-right-wing evangelical Christians. I'm glad to hear from other people with the same views and opposing views. I'm also very happy to have the opportunity to rebut those views.

-- Debra James

Colorado Springs

veteran, mother of a U.S. Marine and a U.S. sailor, daughter-in-law of a veteran, daughter of a veteran, sister of two veterans ... shall I go on?

Strumming away

An American city is near destruction. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has ordered a complete evacuation of New Orleans. Parts of the city are underneath as much as 12 feet of water.

The mayor of neighboring Slidell, Ben Morris, is predicting six to 12 weeks before electrical power will be restored. Schools will be closed for at least two months. Rescuers are pushing dead bodies to the side in an effort to save as many people as possible.

Predictions of damage costs are exceeding $17 billion dollars. Due to disruption of the supply chain, gas prices may jump as much as $1.10 per gallon over the pre-Katrina prices.

What is President Bush doing at this time of national catastrophe? He's in San Diego, strumming a guitar given to him by country singer Mark Wills. A modern-day Nero, fiddling while Rome burns.

-- Jeff Courtright

Colorado Springs

Horrific and heartbreaking

In a horrific and heartbreaking way, Hurricane Katrina confirmed that George W. Bush and his cronies are much more effective at ENDING the lives of innocent people around the world as compared to SAVING innocent lives on the very soil of the country they claim to be protecting.

And Mother Nature always gets it right.

-- Jerome L. Husebye

Colorado Springs

Corporate patsies

I watched the Aug. 30 "Nightline" special on the effects of Katrina on the Gulf states with interest and great sadness. I found it to be well written, produced and delivered.

Then came Ted Koppel's closing remarks about the "inevitable terrorist attack on American soil" (a thinly veiled plug for Bush's war games), implying that fighting this "War on Terror" is the only way to protect our country.

The only connection between the war and the hurricane is that the people in the Gulf region would be safer if they had full use of their National Guard. They don't, because Junior sent many of them overseas to kill Iraqis.

The president is stumping all over the country (on our dime!), trying to drum up war support and raise his flagging credibility. The American citizens don't need more corporate media patsies continuing the trend of matching low poll numbers for Bush with more terror alerts and bold statements designed to keep us in check through fear.

-- Dan Wiencek

Colorado Springs

10 extreme feminists

Again, the hypocrisy of the left shines through brightly as Nan Stilwagen, president of the National Organization for Women of the Pikes Peak Region, wrote her thoughts about Pastor Ted Haggard entering politics in a letter from the Sept. 1-7 edition of the Independent. Her reflected theme on this topic was, "it's not a good idea to mix religion and politics." Pig slop ... doublespeak ... Animal Farm code ... Orwellian crazymaking!

If she, and other liberals, would only be honest and quit their political spin, then Ms. Stilwagen would have to admit that she is speaking only in half-truths. In reality, she doesn't mind the mixing of religion and politics if it happens to be a leftist ideologue who supports her agenda. She's not really concerned about "religion and politics mixing"; she is fuming that a Christian evangelical minister would dare enter the political realm with traditional ideas.

I've followed the press releases of N.O.W. over the last three decades. They don't complain when the Rev. Jesse Jackson or the Rev. Al Sharpton run for the presidency of the United States. They don't foam at the mouth when the Rev. Barry Lynn jumps into the marketplace of ideas to restrain the religious right. Why not? Could it be that these Democrats and other liberals support radical feminism, abortion rights and the homosexual agenda? Come on, let's be honest for a change!

She even ends her editorial with a threat that if this charismatic minister decides to run, N.O.W. chapters around the state will "turn out to let him know it's not a good idea to mix religion and politics." Well, okay then, in a mega-church that holds over 10,000 people, let the 10 extreme feminists scream out their protests. But their protest is really that they hate conservatism and traditional ideas mixing with their political views, not religion.

-- Tom Pedigo

Colorado Springs

Far more disturbing

I am writing to clarify a section of my interview published in last week's Independent, describing the situation of a former soldier from Fort Carson who was told that the Army did not have time for him and to just get out. The actual situation is far more disturbing.

My friend, the former Army soldier and Iraq veteran, visited the out-processing center on Fort Carson to speak with active-duty soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division who had just returned from two years overseas, first in South Korea, then in Iraq.

While in Iraq the 2nd ID was hit very hard; 68 of their soldiers were killed and another 400 wounded. After spending two years on foreign deployments, many of the active-duty soldiers were nearing the end of their military service. They spoke of how the Army was telling them that there was neither the time nor the resources to deal with their mental and physical injuries, and they just needed to accept their discharges and hope that the VA could help them.

Not only are honorably discharged veterans being abandoned to struggle alone with their health problems, but active-duty soldiers are being pushed out the door by a military and administration that tries to justify an illegal occupation costing $6 billion a week, while simultaneously abandoning our veterans at their time of greatest need.

-- Kelly Dougherty

Colorado Springs

Iraq Veterans Against the War / Vets 4 Vets

Time will tell

Regarding Kathryn Eastburn's article on Kelly Dougherty's opposition to the Iraq occupation, a few thoughts:

In a sense I can sympathize with Ms. Dougherty's sentiments. A little over 50 years ago I was a veteran of the Korean War, in which I very nearly had my head blown off, and was very upset over the entire venture. I was convinced that our presence there was wrongheaded in the extreme.

With the benefit of hindsight, I believe that I was the one who was wrong. At the time none of us, in our wildest imaginations, could have foreseen the prosperous, peaceful nation that South Korea has become and the stabilizing role it plays in East Asia. As far as I know, there was no reason to expect that this would happen.

Looking at our present situation, I don't think I have the perspective or wisdom to judge our enterprise in Iraq. With all due respect, I don't think that Ms. Dougherty does either. We live in a time when there are some very large changes starting to emerge in the world, just as there were in 1950-53, and it takes time to comprehend them.

In the meantime, it's important to keep in mind that the "Get out of Iraq" factions in this country must be providing tremendous encouragement to Islamist radicals all around the world who are dedicated to our destruction. If America won't stand, who will?

-- E. Scott Hightower

Colorado Springs

Ying and Yang

I read last week's review of the Ying Yang Twins. I make my living with words and mostly didn't know what the reviewer was talking about. Having a radical feminist review the Ying Yang Twins is like asking James Dobson to review the Howard Stern show. What do you think you are going to get?

A better approach would be for the writer to consider the Ying Yang Twins within the genre, which obviously has a very large following, and write about why they are popular versus writing an "all about me" column about her political views, how they overlay on the Ying Yang Twins and that, somehow, because it's played in strip clubs (another rad-fem target), she hates it even more.

Her so-called "review" is as mean-spirited and awful as she makes the YYT out to be. After all, it's MUSIC, it's ENTERTAINMENT and, oh, would someone please point out to her that Mick Jagger is an adulterer? Maybe her rad-fem side was smoking something else when she listened to their music.

-- Judy Isacoff

Monterey, Calif.

Help is available

Thanks for the Aug. 18 feature article on local nonprofit organizations. As noted in your article, the revenue for many of the locally focused smaller nonprofits has decreased. Help is available for the smaller local nonprofits at the El Pomar Nonprofit Resource Center at the Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave., in downtown Colorado Springs.

Nonprofits looking for funding can access grants databases and scores of other databases and books to help with grant seeking, fundraising, grant writing and nonprofit management at the El Pomar Nonprofit Resource Center. Free workshops are also available for local nonprofits.

-- Lynn Harrison

El Pomar Nonprofit Resource Center Librarian

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