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Times have changed

I read your July 21 article about Pueblo Chieftain publisher Bob Rawlings with great interest. Having lived in the lower Arkansas Valley for nearly 30 years, I'm disappointed in Mr. Rawlings for continuing to use the valley as a pawn in advancing his personal agenda.

He claims he's trying to protect southeast Colorado from water raids and preserve the farming life he remembers as a child. Times have changed. Arkansas Valley residents are very proud of their farming heritage, but there are only so many farms to go around, and many struggle to stay in business. In addition to agriculture, the valley needs a sustainable economy for the future, one that retains and attracts business to the area.

True, water is the key to any economy, whether it is La Junta, Pueblo or Colorado Springs. That's why it's so important that we work together and not allow people like Rawlings to create ill will between communities and perpetuate age-old water wars.

Rawlings creates conflict and controversy to sell his newspaper. What's needed is open communication, cooperation and collaboration. Only by coming together can we meet the regional water challenges we all face and help ensure a positive future for generations to come -- both in Colorado Springs and the Arkansas Valley.

-- Mark Murphy

Colorado Springs

Preacher man

Doug Bruce's car is a piece of crap, and I should know because I drive a 1985 Honda myself. In response to last week's news story, I just hope the smug, self-satisfied feeling in which he is surely still reveling makes all his bitchin' and moanin' worth the effort.

I have a hard time understanding why this Creature of God believes himself to be above the law. Did he run for a minimally effective public office for the perks and the prestige? Did he run to serve his constituency to the best of his ability? Or did he run simply to justify and reward his own self-aggrandizing mentality? Not that it matters.

This man is/was a slumlord, or -- if its still PC to be PC -- a "barely habitable residence"-lord, and, again, I should know. A friend of mine had the great misfortune of renting one of Mr. Bruce's shanties a couple of years ago. This, of course, is a moot point. I only mention it because it complements Mr. Bruce's dung heap of a car like a swarm of flies.

And so I guess when the fines from his illegal action have accrued beyond the total value of his car, it makes sense to use political influence and reputation as a litigious fool to get his vehicle back. I'm sure it made him feel more like a man to cry like a baby than simply paying the fine and acknowledging his mistake ever could.

I question his manhood and integrity, as well as yours, Indy, because we all know that supporting his endeavors reams us royally in the end. And yet, because he places ads with you in the Classified section, you glaze over his abuses and supercilious escapades at taxpayer expense.

Mr. Bruce, please, please do us all a favor and devote your God-given penchant for manipulation to a field far more befitting you -- televangelism. Thanks in advance,

-- Jessica Lee

Colorado Springs

Running wild

How unfortunate for Simone Windeler, whose letter to the editor appeared last week, to have her dog set upon by the coyotes at Bear Creek. It must have been quite traumatic, especially since I'm sure she was holding on to the end of her dog's leash, or at least had her animal under voice control.

Her Dalmatian fell for one of the oldest tricks in the coyote book -- that is, run for the safety of the pack. Isn't allowing your pet to attack a wild animal against the law? I think it is. In fact, I think it's called harassing wildlife. I wonder if the coyotes near the horse yard were actually eyeing the horses as a possible food source, or if they were looking for the rodents attracted to the grain (their natural food) or the scraps of food tossed around by the horse owners.

In what I see as the "American way," once again, if there is a local species that is troublesome, it should be "dispatched or captured and relocated." After all, they were here first, but that shouldn't matter. Get rid of the offending creature that is only trying to survive the best that it can. Kinda sounds like the "American" view of the Native American in the 1800s all over again.

I'd be willing to bet there have been more incidents of stray dogs running loose and attacking horses, hikers and children then there have been coyotes. Maybe we should try to modify our habits before we once again take nature into our own hands. After all, we've all seen how well that's worked in the past.

-- John Cactus Owl

Colorado Springs

America tunes out

In response to last week's cover story ("Paying the price"), of course America has been tuned out of the Iraq war. It is only now that Americans are realizing this war wasn't necessary. What took them so long?

There are many reasons why so many have had such a nonchalant attitude about this mess in Iraq, and it starts with the Commander in Chief. He never asked anyone but the GIs and their loved ones to make a sacrifice. Instead of raising taxes to pay for his war, he cut them, and now, China, Japan and other foreign nations are financing his war. But mark it down, Bush will be gone and we'll still be paying.

I believe that until just lately, most Americans believed the Iraq war would be a breeze, but no doubt many of these same folks also believed there were WMD, that Iraq was a threat to the United States, and there was a connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. Of course, none of this was true, and any discerning person knew that Bush knew it wasn't true when he said it.

The media has not helped Americans tune in. Sure, it notes American and Iraqi causalities, but it doesn't stress them. War should be headline news, print and electronic, 24/7. It should get as much attention as O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson did. It should be in our eyes and ears till we're sick of it -- till we can't get away from it. It should be everywhere, but it isn't.

The war goes on and Americans are out shopping, filling up SUVs, waiting for the World Series and Sunday football. All the while, GIs are coming home in flag-draped coffins that Bush won't let us see. They're coming home by the thousands with rattled brains, unseeing eyes, on crutches, in wheelchairs, to a VA system that will be hard-pressed to take care of them.

They're coming home to divorces, to kids they don't know. They're coming home to families, knowing they have to go back. They're coming home to a president who doesn't have the cojones to admit he was wrong.

They're coming home to a nation that is tuned out.

-- Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

Where is the outrage?

I'm writing about Alan Sindler's outstanding July 21 letter, "Lie is a lie is a lie."

When the Watergate scandal was unfolding, our nation was justifiably outraged. We were justifiably outraged that the Nixon administration was involved in the burglary of the offices of their political opponents and attempting to cover up this crime.

However, it seems to me that the Watergate scandal pales in comparison to the George W. Bush administration's lying to the American people and the United Nations about the reason to attack and invade another sovereign nation.

Where is the outrage?

Where is the outrage that the so-called weapons of mass destruction had absolutely nothing to do with why the Bush administration wanted to invade Iraq?

The Bush administration was not deceived about weapons of mass destruction; the Bush administration did the deceiving.

-- Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.

Coming soon

Michael de Yoanna's article last week, "Paying the price," describes the social and emotional impact we are only beginning to feel (or not feel) when yet another brave American comes home in a coffin or body bag.

The article also touched on the number of returning soldiers and Marines suffering from clinical depression or other serious mental illness. This will, in time, have a far-reaching impact on all of us.

I wrote this poem last year, when these "casualty reports" first hit the headlines.

The Letter

Returning home from a jungle war

on a troopship, three years now

past high school, catapulted into adulthood

to see things none should see

and do things none should

be forced to do.

Decapitated heads face down

in the sand

bullet-riddled bodies rotting in the Pacific breezes

of World War Two.

Over and out. GIs facing California,

going home.

Then the landmine exploded, triggered by

A letter from Mama.

Her house caught fire. Details deleted due to

National Security.

Running about the ship, looking in vain

for answers.

She was in fact alive, aok.

No way to confirm or confront. So his mind raced

forward and back. Faces of the dead. His buddies,

his foes, himself. Collateral damage now, an

officer, bystander with a tray of coffee, takes it in the face.

As the young man, the soldier who knew too little

And had seen too much

Was hauled off to sickbay

to face his future.

A medical discharge, a burned-out home, a happy

mother

Shell shock, combat fatigue, post-traumatic stress

disorder

Sad-sack casualties continue to haunt us,

deployed here at home.

Sixty years ago they returned

by ship.

Sixty minutes ago they flew home from

the Middle East.

Sixty years past, something in my dad's head

snapped.

And right now in the desert

you can hear the ticking

of the bomb,

the weapons of mental destruction

that will gradually descend and then

Explode.

Wounded souls coming soon

To a job site, a hospital, a jail cell, a living room

or a house of worship.

Near you.

-- Steve Bell

Colorado Springs

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