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Connect the dots

The Indy often runs stories I don't happen to agree with ... surprise! But Mahajan's piece (Your Turn, March 25) encouraging the maiming and killing of innocents takes the proverbial cake. It isn't difficult to imagine this guy comfortably sipping tea with Osama, chuckling with delight at the news of the bombing of a commuter train in Spain. Yes, apparently the rules of war have changed, but absolutely nothing justifies the taking of innocent lives. Nothing.

Mahajan wants to connect dots across the globe to justify his friends' barbarism. He assumes that Palestinian extremists will suddenly turn into joyful, happy, Teletubby-like followers of Islam were Jews to vacate Israel overnight. Arafat's gangsters have demonstrated time after time how they are willing to employ subterfuge while negotiating. Additionally, Mahajan assumes that Sunnis and Shi'ites will instantly start sharing a love like no other if coalition forces left Iraq in a week's time. Does he think all the bodies discovered in mass, common graves in Iraq got there accidentally? They weren't put there by coalition forces. And why aren't women's organizations around the world up in arms over the brutal oppression of women under fundamentalist Islam?

The author then reveals his true agenda, hoping no one will challenge his statement, "It doesn't matter whether you're a hawk or a dove." Baloney! In Colorado we know what fertilizer smells like. According to Mahajan, he would have Israel and the coalition surrender first, talk later.

For as long as a dangerous little bunch of progress-challenged, culturally jealous extremists justify the taking of innocent lives in their pursuit to return the world to medieval nirvana, military means will be the only effective way to enable them to collect their 39 virgins. It is amazing how Mahajan, writing from the comfort of offices at the University of Texas, can be so well educated and yet be so ignorant of the real world. Obviously, the only blood he will ever lose will be from his bleeding heart.

-- Steve Clarke

Colorado Springs

Who's to blame?

I know that Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein, but removing him from power was never the reason for a ''pre-emptive'' war.

The American people and the world were told of imminent danger, a progressing nuclear program, and stockpiles of chemical and nerve agents. To date, we've found exactly nothing, and I don't think it's from a lack of looking either.

There sure were intelligence breakdowns, and who's ultimately to blame? Look no further than George W. Bush, who still has yet to account for his miscalculations and rush to war.

-- Mr. Michael L. Jones

Elizabeth, Colo.

Tremendous strides

As a patriotic American living in a dangerous corner of the world, I am heartened to observe the tremendous strides the Bush administration is making toward reforming the Middle East. President Bush's call for a democratic Middle East is a bold step forward that is badly needed. In this region where such basic American rights as freedom of worship, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are prohibited, it is a refreshing change of perspective for our president to speak of democracy in this region.

But Bush is not confining his steps to mere rhetoric. He is a man of decisive action. We Americans can be proud that he has liberated two oppressive countries -- Afghanistan and Iraq -- and has established democratic institutions in both of them. For example, the development of the recent Iraqi provisional constitution is an enormous achievement by the Bush administration in fostering the winds of freedom and democracy.

While there is some resistance here to change in the status quo, I sense that people in the Middle East are, down deep, receptive to the opportunity to consider the establishment of democracy and freedom. Being captives of oppressive regimes, they may not openly call for such change, but I feel they are amenable to it. This is the sense that I get from a street-level perspective of people in the Middle East.

Therefore, now is not the time for America to falter in its campaign to bring peace, freedom, democracy and justice to the Middle East. I strongly encourage all my fellow Americans back home to continue to give your full support to our president at this time of critical change in the Middle East.

Together we may very well see the institution of a more peaceful region and a more peaceful world. And for this, we can be grateful to the sagacious leadership of George W. Bush.

-- Kim Hester

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Success and sacrifice

The first anniversary of the Iraq war brings speeches about the success and sacrifice by our military and about fear of the evil we face, which mandates that we continue our fight. President Bush said today at Fort Campbell that America is represented by people "like Billy who volunteers with the YMCA here and takes time to love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself," and said that is why we'll never be defeated.

What about those who the Pentagon calls "collateral damage"? There are solutions besides fear and fighting that take as much courage as our soldiers demonstrate, which would yield true security that comes from true "caring." We left Afghanistan to fall back into tribal warfare in order to wage a pre-emptive war in Iraq. We ignore corporate malfeasance by no-bid contract recipients who are paid highly to rebuild Iraq, while skilled Iraqis beg for just some of those jobs. Many of our soldiers are quoted as saying unemployed Iraqis have both time and reason to oppose us. Bechtel, Halliburton, et al., are bilking American taxpayers of money that could fund solutions to more serious threats than Iraq ever posed, such as helping Russia to destroy their vast nuclear arsenal, which Russian President Putin has asked us to do, while still leaving enough money to rebuild Iraq in a sensible manner.

Why didn't, and now why won't, Bush act on lessons that most of us learned long before he awakened to profess that he "will never forget the lessons of 9/11"? He disengaged from any U.S. role to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the United States was and remains a target due to what we created there over decades with our monetary and diplomatic support of Israel's military failures. He bolsters radicals in Iran by not helping moderates there who could change that country to a more just society. He dismisses our allies, saying "we'll do it alone," but hunting for terrorists was a global endeavor before he awakened on 9/11and it always will be.

When Bush says, "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists," he's not just talking to allied countries; he's talking to any American who dares to offer other solutions.

-- Pat Conley

Manitou Springs

Score one for the Dems

This letter is a response to Chuck Frasier calling John Kerry a sad, helpless twit and accusing the Democratic party of being anti-American, perverted and atheistic and a cheerleader for Satan. (Letters, March 11.)

John Kerry served in Vietnam fighting for America; George Bush did not! Why else is Mr. Kerry supported by veterans?

The Democratic Party has always respected the freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. Conservative Christian Republicans have always ignored that by imposing their values upon the masses.

How could the Democratic Party be cheerleaders for Satan and atheists at the same time when an atheist is defined as one who denies the existence of God and his enemy Satan?

During the Bill Clinton presidency, employment was abundant and there were more choices for working-class Americans who were paying cash at the grocery store and had private medical insurance. But after George W. Bush had taken office as a result of a Supreme Court decision, all of that came to a screeching halt!

Score one for the Democratic Party! Now that George W. Bush is president, there is an overabundance of Americans who have little or no healthcare and are desperately looking for work.

Mr. Frazier says that John Kerry should slip on panties and host a tea party. I say that the Republican Party should shave their heads, put on their Nazi uniforms and march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., behind George W. Bush as he waves the Confederate flag while shouting in unison "Heil Hitler!"

-- Ed Billings

Colorado Springs

Driving to Mars

I'm writing in response to Chuck Frazier's letter and his concerns about the U.S. media (Letters, March 11.)

On a recent afternoon road trip across Texas, I scanned the AM stations in search of sports talk. Instead I got Rush Limbaugh ranting about liberal control of the media. I changed stations and there was Rush complaining about the liberal press. I scanned on ... and twice more hit Mr. Limbaugh rattling his papers at the puerile and misguided Americans who provide us our news.

In West Texas, it's Rush's opinion or nothing. They say he's a good man, but I'm not sure he's got the facts on this one. Maybe, like our president, it is his advisers who are providing him with inaccurate and ironic information.

Additionally, I appreciate Mr. Frazier's perspective on our president as a down-to-earth fellow. You'll be interested to know that one of his re-election campaign slogans reflects this man of the people ideal:

Driving to Mars in our hydrogen cars

Vote for Bush

I can't wait.

-- John Moore

Via the Internet

Extend unemployment benefits

Unemployment insurance is the nation's principal safety net for helping people who lose their jobs, but the program has lagged behind economic changes. Half of all unemployed workers received benefits in the 1950s, but only about one-third do today. Unemployment insurance should be reformed to cover more people, to provide sufficient benefits to people between jobs, and help laid off workers gain the workforce training skills that they need.

John Kerry supports reforms that help workers and has consistently supported efforts to extend benefits to unemployed workers during recessions. We are waiting to see if President Bush will also support the extension of unemployment compensation benefits for all of the jobless Americans who are actively seeking work but cannot find a job.

-- Cyndi Vasco


Essence of Americanism

I would like to respond to two letters in last week's Indy by Jensen and Alvarado regarding John Kerry's protest of the Vietnam War. Jensen states that to protest an ongoing war is "un-American, despicable and politically reprehensible." I found John Kerry's protest to be the very essence of Americanism -- courageous, intelligent and a matter of conscience rather than politically motivated. When I returned from Vietnam, I too protested the war. I was drafted and served as a rifleman from April 1968 to April 1969 with the 9th Infantry in the Mekong Delta.

Why is it that those among us who like to crow the loudest about how American troops are fighting to protect our rights and liberties are so often the first to deny these freedoms to not only the troops but to the general population? Of course we have the right to protest war or anything else we choose to protest. It is not only a right but a duty. And who better to protest a wrong war than the soldiers who fought it? Indeed, the very heart and soul of the Vietnam War protest were Vietnam veterans. I don't pretend to speak for veterans. We are a very diverse group with a full range of opinions. Clearly, Jensen and Alvarado don't speak for anyone but themselves.

As an American combat veteran, I have infinitely more respect for a man who goes to war and realizes it was wrong and comes home and says so than I do for a "man" who uses his family's political influence to skip over 500 other young men waiting to get into the National Guard. A man who, years later, prances around on an aircraft carrier in a uniform he neither earned nor deserved to wear.

-- David Loucks

Colorado Springs

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