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Letters to the Editor

May 03, 1999

Book sale approaching

To the editor:

On behalf of the Friends of Legal Services, I want to thank all those businesses that allowed people to donate books at their location for our 15th annual book sale. We have received a tremendous number of excellent books of all types, and we thank all who made donations.

The last day for donating books was April 26, and we are now devoting ourselves to preparing for the sale. We invite all book lovers to attend the sale, which will open at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 7, and runs through Sunday, May 9, at Laird Hall on the Wilson College campus in Chambersburg.

Rene E. Singley

Chambersburg, Pa.

Personal accountability doesn't cover it

To the editor:

Once again, America has been awakened by more teenage violence. My saddened heart goes out to the victims and their families. My prayers are ascending on their behalf. What a sad day we're living in when our children are afraid to go to school and get a good education. We must pray for our own local schools and pray against the heartless pranksters who are feeding upon such a tragedy by their own verbal threats and the wearing of long, black trenchcoats for the purpose of injecting fear.

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Each of us are accountable for our own actions. No one is accountable for pulling the triggers except the two gunmen. They did what they did because they chose to do it. However, I agree with the letter that Eric Kerns had printed on April 28. My applause to his comments about how we as a society have allowed violent and degrading influences to dominate our modern culture.

It has been widely documented that certain violent, evil and demonic influences played a major role in the development of the thinking of the two gunmen. For years people mocked preachers for exposing the harmful effects of such negative influences. How many more innocent people have to die before we take a stand against such vile and demoralizing messages that are being communicated to our children?

I highly recommend that we stop and take a look at what our children are gathering in their impressionable minds from the media, music and mess that is being pumped into their minds. It's time to put your foot down and stand against this evil tide that threatens our already crumbling society. Better yet...put your knee down and pray.

John Miller

Pastor, Faith Christian Fellowship

Kosovo goes beyond peacekeeping

To the editor:

My international relations class was surprised when we were read a recent Washington Post article concerning U.S. troops in Haiti. Like most of the nation, we remembered the 1994 peacekeeping mission in which President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to combat warring generals, but had given little thought to the possiblility that the Army was still deployed. In reality, 500 U.S. troops remain on the island where they are forced to defend themselves from the bombings and attacks of factional fighting that have resulted from failed peace attempts.

While elections did occur thanks to the presence of U.S. troops, fighting has resumed and intensified to prevent democratic and economic stability and to force the defenders of democracy to defend themselves.

Why are the troops still there after nearly five years? Had it not been for the recent request of Gen. Charles E. Wilhelm to remove the troops from danger, would the nation have even been made aware of the situation?

The situation is of particular relevance today as we are faced with engaging US troops in a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo - a region whose road to peace could prove longer and more treacherous than that of the Haitians. 

The House is rightfully seeking assurance that, if U.S. troops must assume their usual role in promoting collective security, there will be arrangements made for their eventual removal.  

 Peacekeepers do not enter a nation with the intention of fighting. They are placed between two warrring parties who may or may not accept their authority.  Unless the parties are predisposed to negotiations, there is a high possiblility that the defenders of peace will soon become defenders of their own lives.  If "peacekeeping" is truly our goal, then let it be stated that the troops will remain for a fixed time until fighting ceases. 

It is not the job of the peacekeeping troops to remain in a region while states are rebuilt and institutions are implemented. Their job description does not entail engaging in combat on behalf of either side if fighting should escalate.

I am inclined to think that Kosovo is in need of much more than a simple peacekeeping effort. The U.S. is right to take an interest and seek to bring about change, but let's not sugar-coat the mission by claiming to be satisfied with a limited peacekeeping effort.

U.S. troops deserve to know exactly what they're in for, and American citizens should take the initiative and pay attention to the terms of the agreements so that a repeat of the unfortunate situation in Haiti can be avoided.

Laura Kamas

Hagerstown

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