Time For Americans
I have finally a point of agreement with Tom Lynch. John Kerry is a politician. He was a leader as a commander of a swift boat in Vietnam. He spoke effectively before the Senate Foreign Relations committee as the U.S. struggled over the agony of Vietnam.
Like most U.S. Senators, John Kerry attempted to shape legislation in accordance with his beliefs and for the benefit of his constituents and the nation. In the U.S. Senate members often support a particular amendment and then get an opportunity to vote on the final bill. The attempts of the Bush campaign to give some sinister meaning to Kerry's active participant in the legislative process will only succeed if Americans are ignorant of Senate rules. Those unfamiliar with Senate procedures may enjoy watching C-Span, Channel60, for a time during debate.
One area in which Senator Kerry has taken a politician's role rather than a leader's role has been how the U.S. will extricate itself from the war in Iraq. The reason the Bush administration advanced for the invasion of Iraq have all been proven false. There was no imminent use of weapons of mass destruction. No Iraqi support for Al Queda has been found. Few Iraqis welcome the occupation and the chaos it has brought.
Americans who opposed the war from the beginning have no illusions about civil liberties under Saddam Hussein. There was no freedom for any opponent of his government. One could hope that Americans would bring some respect for civil liberties and the rule of law to Iraq. As the world sees and hears about the treatment of Iraqi civilians and insurgents this hope fades away.
It is now time for Americans to discuss how we can humanely extricate ourselves from Iraq. Can we encourage responsible Iraqis including tribal leaders, retired military officers, university administrators and moderate religious leaders to take temporary leadership while Iraqis plan for their future government? Can we leave enough food and medical supplies so that Iraqis can subsist for a limited time? Can we achieve a cease fire while all troops are withdrawn without further casualities?
It is my hope that John Kerry will provide the leadership in forcing the Bush administration to find answers to these questions. In any case the American people must demand answers now.
John Paul Culotta in his column, The Progressive, cities the New York Times as the left wing clearing house for dissemnation of Democratic talking points. I'm sure the Times would reject this honor. It could be given, however, to the new radio network, Air America (1190 AM), which features Al Franklin and a number of other articulate supporters of the Democratic party and progressive issues.
Bear Any Burden For Liberty
For years, I have read The Wave and have thoroughly enjoyed every page, especially the Letters to the Editor. I commend Mr. Whol's use of your media to express his First Amendment rights when he feels strongly towards an issue. While I, and I am sure others, may not agree with him at times, I have always left well enough alone. Who was I to try and change his views? Individuality is what makes the United States of America great. However, his most recent correspondence has upset me greatly.
I agree with Mr. Wohl's notion that everyone has a right to defend themselves and their homes. Freedom is the right of every human being regardless of what Superior Being, entity or ideal that he or she believes in. I don't agree with his calling every Iraqi insurgent a "patriot, a hero and a freedom fighter." How can you categorize these people as innocents? I am willing to wager that these "patriots" are the same people that followed the orders of Saddam Hussein, who by the way - is innocent of NOTHING, to slaughter the Shiites after we (US) liberated Kuwait from Iraq's invasion 13 years ago. The same people that continuously tried to shoot down American jets patrolling the No-Fly zone in the years following the Gulf War. The same people who just this week aired a video decapitating a 26 year old civilian who was trying to help rebuild a country that fell into despair from years of terror choreographed by their former dictator. Make no mistake about it; these people are the real terrorists, not the United States and certainly not our President, George W. Bush!
I firmly support what is happening in Iraq. I firmly support our men and women serving honorably and with pride. And I most emphatically support George W. Bush in all that he has done. Saddam and his men were given plenty of chances to avoid what has happened. He was allowed exuberant amounts of time to come clean about his WMD program. If in fact he was "clean" then why wasn't evidence produced that would appease the world. This alone could have spared him a US military response. Instead he chose to be stubborn, freely believing that his grip of terror over the Iraqi people would last. Consequently, the US had to stand firm on its insistence that Saddam come clean or feel our wrath and now he will answer to the people he terrorized for decades, people who will soon be citizens of a free and independently run nation. In reality, this should have happened years ago when he first expelled the UN inspectors from Iraq. That act alone warranted a strong military response. However the UN Security Council and the US administration at the time chose not to act for reasons I cannot comprehend.
We must stay in Iraq until freedom can be secured. We cannot desert the Iraqi people like we did years ago. It is our job to secure freedom in this world. This was pledged over 40 years ago on a cold January day when John Kennedy was inaugurated: Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge-and more.
One final point - Mr. Wohl, while I expressed in the beginning that the use of the First Amendment is a good thing, there is one drawback, the freedom to sling disgusting labels towards those we don't agree with. HOW DARE you associate my support and the support of many others of who agree with me to that of the Nazi Sympathizers during the early half of the 20th century. As a person who is descendant from Irish and GERMAN backgrounds it baffles the human mind that you can compare my support for Iraqi liberation to that of the Holocaust. I daresay you owe many a people, including myself, an apology for that blatant use of ignorance.
V.F.W. AcknowledgmentsDear Editor,
The Morris Haynes Post 2781 V.F.W. Ladies Auxiliary would like to acknowledge and thank the students that took time to enter the "Voice of Democracy" essay-writing contest that was sponsored by the V.F.W. organization.
Even though we did not get a winner, all our entrants were winners and will receive a certificate and a monetary prize for their efforts. James Cooper of M.S. 180's essay was entered in the statewide contest and we are proud of his efforts.
We look forward to next year for more contestants.
World War II
Two stars hung in our window
To let the whole world know
We had two, who, to war had to go.
Folks from all over would come by to see
And I was proud as proud as I could be.
A telegram brought news of one.
He never did return.
The other fought and won the war.
Thank God he did return.
Two Stars: Jimmy Burke (RIP)
And I am proud as proud as I can be.
Not the Answer For B. 116 Street
I have a question for the Chamber of Commerce. How are available storefronts shopped around to potential renters?
My concern is that Beach 116 Street needs some changes and the same types of shops keep popping up all over the place.
Our third $.99 store is opening up where the former Laundromat was on 116th. In a community that is so diverse, where is the variety?
Why are we not able to attract stores that local residents might find more useful? We could use a luncheon cafe, a Gap, a children's play center or even a Starbucks (which could sell lunch and have a patio). As a longtime member of this community I would like to see it enhanced and forgive me for thinking another $.99 is not the answer.
Math In Public Schools
I was very pleased to read the column "Declining Math" in last week's Wave. I think it highlights a major problem that must be recognized and addressed. When the mayor took over the schools, he made massive wholesale changes without getting proper guidance, ordering the necessary groundwork.
While many of his new policies are sensible and sound, the actual decisions resulting are not. Eliminating remedial math in the high schools is a perfect example. The eighth grade math assessment tests clearly show that a very large proportion of our students do not know basic math. The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that most of our students should take remedial math courses to get caught up to speed. Eliminating any remedial course is the worst possible decision; it's pretending the problem doesn't exist or it will go away if we ignore it.
Unless the Chancellor, or Mayor are magicians, we will continue to graduate students from high schools who still don't know basic math.
Growing Chaos In Iraq
Let us now imagine the sound of one hand clapping, re: Stuart Mirsky's May 14 issue, where with extensive kicking and screaming he bemoans criticism of glaring weaknesses in his political positions.
He writes of "the harsh level of rhetoric" against the administration and its policies, the column's title self-servingly, Right vs. Left, giving his game away, that justifiable criticism becomes "left" with accompanying adverse connotations.
He is loathe to acknowledge that in writing a column, or giving a public talk, you do so at your own peril, with opposition inherent and acceptable in a viable democracy.
So - his whining perplexity at arousing strong comment becomes somewhat naïve from one, as he says, with writing experience for another paper.
Outraged at pervasive and now widespread criticism of Mr. Bush, he rejects it with little or no refutation of the on-going charges; of AWOL from military, substance abuser, liar (note here no reference to the still unfounded WMD's or Powell's denial of the Niger purchase, an item which remained in the State of the Union speech even after it was proven demonstrably false.)
So - he spends the major part of an 800-word essay bemoaning the existence of viable opposition views.
What salutary discernment from a writer of "experience." How precious a discovery! He quotes extensively from letters received (actually a writer's lazy trick to fill up space when he has little to say), with not an iota towards refutation, but so terribly unhappy at this presence to sully his finely structured order of things.
One sees here an exercise in political obscurantism, either deliberate, or just summarily removed from acceptance of anything contrary. And then his claims that his oppositions "idea of debate is to muzzle the opposition." Let's talk to that "idea."
Ought he really be thinking that this administration is rated by historians as "the most secretive in many decades."
Ought he mention the muzzling of Ted Koppel's reading the names of the dead from at least seven major TV stations?
Ought he mention Disney's muzzling of Michael Moore's film criticizing Mr. Bush?
Ought he mention Clear Channel - a conservative group which controls 1200 radio stations and brooks very little aspects of a counter culture?
Ought he mention, or even write about, the continuing debacle from this uncalled for war, 783 killed as of this writing, and mounting daily? No 9/11 Iraq connections with Al Qaeda (what of Saudi Arabia's connections?) Gross violations of the Geneva Conventions in prison camps - Rumsfeld lauded by the President as "doing a superb job - or even after admission that he had never seen fit to read General Taguba's report, alongside a quip with the President that "he doesn't read the papers." Do they read anything but glowing reports?
On and on, ad infinitum, with no semblance or admission of error, or shame, or horror by those in charge.
Question - tell me, Mr. Mirsky - would you send your draft age son or daughter, or a middle-aged reservist with a growing family of kids to put their lives on the line in the degenerative chaos of Iraq? Please tell me.
Of course, I don't envisage an early response.
But perhaps, once again, a very plaintive hue and cry that the poor man is being subjected to calumny and abuse by a recalcitrant opposition. SO be it! Is it not high time for a change for the better?
JESSE H. PLUTZER