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Guns and roses

War is an art form, not a historical occurrence. It is more like a novel than real life. Just ask the Air Force pilot who reads all that classical literature ("First strike," cover story, May 7). The reporter even mixes in his own fiction when he says we really don't know what started the war in Iraq.

Jason Armagost, the hero of this romantic account, has passed into the world of rationalization posing as moral discernment. Whether it's Hiroshima or that first bombing mission over Baghdad, there is one thing to do: blow it up first and maybe ask a few questions later.

It is clear from reading Air Force Academy professor Donald Anderson's body of work that he is engaged in the typical "mixing of apples and oranges" that Academy professors are really good at. They would have you think that Air Force warriors have a lot in common with their Marine and Army counterparts. We hear about a couple of those folks who fought on the ground in World War II and in Vietnam.

But finally, an apple is not an orange. Flying in totally sanitized air space is not a risky proposition. A few aircraft have been lost to mechanical failure but none have been shot down by enemy fire in more than six years in Iraq and almost eight years in Afghanistan.

So we're left with a really positive war story with just enough nuance to keep it from being a manifesto. It fits very nicely in a country that is involved in perpetual war and spends as much as the rest of the world combined on war preparation and execution. Those problems are left to someone else to deal with.

— Bill Sulzman

Colorado Springs


Better than nothing

Many of us have seen our sports fields, normally verdant in spring, now pock-marked with withered patches of grass and dirt. We incorrectly assumed that a portion of our sports fees were allocated to field maintenance, including watering.

With dwindling budgets and no obvious other sources of funds, this situation is unlikely to change and, with the onset of summer heat, it will likely worsen. Fields that die now will need to be replaced at greater expense. Programs may even have to be canceled to decrease the impact on these fields.

Since government doesn't appear to be in a position to help us, we must help ourselves. I humbly propose every child bring a bottle of water to his or her game, take what remains and pour it into some receptacle that the city could provide. This water could then be used on the fields at the end of the day.

This is far from a perfect solution, but hopefully it could sustain our fields until a more permanent solution can be found. The quantity of water and ability to evenly distribute it would likely be insufficient; what we don't address now concerning our fields, we will pay for later.

— Eric Fredrickson

Manitou Springs

Fixing FREX

I have read letters from City Council members Jerry Heimlicher and William Herpin in the Independent. In these letters, they both give thanks for the support of Colorado Springs residents and promise good stewardship of taxpayers' monies.

Talk is cheap, action is everything. I have pointed out a very large area of waste to both of these Council members and neither has done anything regarding this waste. Councilman Heimlicher has agreed that this is indeed a waste, yet has taken no action.

The waste I am speaking of is running the Front Range Express commuter buses all the way to downtown Denver.

The Front Range Express was initially funded by a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant. Even though FREX is no longer funded by this grant, the purpose of this commuter service was and still is to mitigate traffic, thereby reducing gas usage and the degradation of the air quality along the I-25 corridor.

Up until two years ago, there was a need to transport FREX passengers to downtown Denver. However, with the running of the new light rail service there is no longer any need for FREX to continue its downtown Denver service. The light rail makes stops at the same points that FREX is making stops at.

FREX needs to change its route to only go as far as Arapahoe. With fewer delays in rush hour, easier scheduling, a simpler fare structure, fewer carbon monoxide emissions, lower operational costs and gas usage, it would be a win–win situation for FREX, FREX passengers and Colorado Springs taxpayers.

Knowing this to be true, these two Council members have refused to address the waste. Yet they claim to be watchful eyes over the city budget.

Councilmen Heimlicher and Herpin: Words mean nothing, action means everything.

— Michael McMahon

Colorado Springs

Hope floats

We in El Paso County are being robbed of the light streaming in. I understand that the people whose party lost the state and federal elections are afraid. Obama is a big change. I would even say "revolutionary" in the scope of the liberation we can now envision for the lower- and lower-middle-income families. Gee, we may even start getting holidays instead of serving meals and selling gas to the more monied citizens on those days.

Lower-income people have been exploited economically and shamed socially for as long as the middle- and upper-income people have needed a place to cast their collective shadow. We get shoved under the water for the sake of phony notions of prestige while they stand on our backs in their attempts to keep their own butts from getting wet in the social river of disenfranchisement. There is a modicum of a pretense at supporting equal opportunity, but the cancellation of the financial aid and social programs that would help provide those opportunities is condoned by most, and even encouraged by many.

City leaders make justice unobtainable by charging large fees just to show up in court to defend ourselves against rabid debt collectors. When we are unable to stand against them and judgments are leveled against us by default, or because we can't afford legal expertise to fight back, our ability to obtain work is then handicapped by the system that allows employers to discriminate against candidates on the basis of a credit report.

It has never been more clear than now how interdependent we all are. Look out for us too, and we all prosper. Shove us too deep and we all eventually sink.

— Lisa Smith

Colorado Springs

Spectator sport

Watching the Republican minority these days is like watching the cavemen in Quest for Fire sprint around like confused chickens after they dropped the torch in the swamp: total confusion, fear and failure on such a grand scale that they will never recover ... at least not in this lifetime.

The GOP got what it deserved in 2008, and I was one of the millions of American voters who proudly gave it to them. Rep. John Boehner and the rest of those sore losers were shoved out of power like rats forced from a bilge pipe, but they still act as though they won the presidential election, regardless of the votes cast by millions of clear-headed Americans who understood that four more years of Republican rule, even with Bush gone forever, was the equivalent of allowing Charles Manson to babysit your teenage daughter.

The Republicans have nothing. No strategy, no message, no acceptable budget, no charisma and no hope, just incestuous beliefs, incredible denial, a compliant mass media and gratuitous public tea-bagging. Their total lack of substance makes them even more dangerous than they were in the Bush era, because they are frantic to regain majority rule as evidenced by their current attachment to the farthest of the far right.

Democrats will continue to rule well into the 21st century, but ignoring the GOP would be like turning your back on a hungry badger that has crawled into your bathtub. Let's give Texas to the GOP.

— Ray Bowden


Consider Barbados

Duane C. Slocum believes the way to hell is paved with bad intentions and Obama is expediting our downfall via socialism. This simply isn't true, since Obama is no socialist nor is he anything close to being a genuine liberal. He's a pragmatic centrist, pure and simple.

I lived 20 years in a democratic socialist nation (Barbados) and am familiar at least from that experience with how socialists work, and how they commit monies. One thing I do know is that they don't allow high fliers in the top 1 percent to benefit from exorbitant tax cuts to the detriment of the rest of the commonwealth. In other words, a real Bajan Socialist would have long since abolished Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy and put it to cutting the country's gigantic deficit.

True, Obama has a plan in mind for national health care, but last I checked it would still include insurance companies — HMOs. In all the years I lived in Barbados I never had to go through an HMO to get care, including once being hospitalized for four days. All you had to do was present your residency card.

Last, no real socialist in any country I've been in would support an occupational military force in a foreign country, which would suck up its domestic resources. Thus, Obama — who plans even greater numbers of troops in Afghanistan — is no socialist by that index.

Albert Einstein, in his essay "Why Socialism?" noted: "Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to the crippling of the social consciousness of individuals ... This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil." The best move for us all is the full elimination of capitalism.

— Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

A new record!

Assuming that Duane C. Slocum is serious (not tongue-in-cheek) in his rant ("Down on Democrats," Letters, May 7), he has perhaps set a record for negative labeling. Socialism, liberalism, communism, terrorists, greenies, democrats, unions (especially teachers' unions) and "anti-militarism" are all covered in a relatively short letter. We are led to assume that these are the bad guys and that whatever is the opposite of these is good.

It's amazingly easy to label and divide. We've just experienced eight years of that (where were you, Mr. Slocum?) and a lot of us realize the harm it has done to our community, country and world. Now we're looking to build a community and world where integrity, not jingoism, is the standard. Attacking teachers' unions, presidents and governors, Democrats, liberals, greenies and advocates of a reduced military is traveling the path of dis-integration.

We are at a crossroads in our thinking about how to create a more humane world, and it's time to ask ourselves many questions. Among those questions would be what our community and the world would be like without a military presence, and the price tag that presence entails. The answer to that question might be surprising and enlightening.

A peaceful world (and I think most people would want that) is about dialogue, not division. Our current president seems to be pursuing integrity, and I think he deserves our support in that effort.

— Paul Dahlsten

Colorado Springs


In "Top-heavy transit" (Letters, May 7), author Jim Gosse meant to reference ATU Local 19, not ATU Local 13.


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