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Letters to the editor

December 02, 2004

World War II was no 'standstill'


To the editor:

I feel compelled to respond to Merl Rinehart's letter published on Nov. 22. First, how dare you state that with the Japanese in World War II, we "beat them to a standstill?" We did no such thing, and to declare this is extremely disrespectful to the many soldiers who fought against them.

I, too, grew up in the aftermath of WWII, and my father was trained and scheduled to replace members of the bombing group on Tinian that was carrying out the raids on Japan. When we dropped the atomic bombs, it thankfully precluded him from having to go there. If we had simply "beat them to a standstill" as you claim, I can assure you they would not have surrendered anywhere near as quickly.

With the lives that would have been lost on both sides if an invasion of their homeland had been required, it is also very doubtful we would have the same alliance with them even today. Certainly, you would not have been spared the lack of any bitterness and hatred for them that you claim as you grew up. No sir, we did not fight to a standstill, we fought hard and long with unbearable sacrifice until we finally beat them at their own game of war and aggression and forced them to concede as a beaten and conquered adversary.

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As for our lack of declaring war in our current conflict, our Constitution only allows our Congress to declare war on a sovereign nation. We cannot make a traditional declaration of war against cowardly thugs and spineless snakes who hide in the shadows as "civilians," and behind women, children and even their own mosques for protection. These dregs of schizophrenic religious extremism would never have the courage or manhood to stand up as a sovereign and accountable nation or even single organization that could be dealt with on even terms.

So how can we fight them if we follow your ideals that say we should only commit troops to foreign conflicts after Congress declares war? Does that mean we should only fight them once they are on our soil and blowing up our people and buildings, but let them prosper grow and organize outside our borders at their pleasure?

Hitler would have been a great proponent of your doctrine, but we Americans eventually had to step in and take care of that mess as well, for the great European appeasers. I prefer standing up and putting the world on notice that we are still a great force to be reckoned with and will not again be a "sleeping giant," but an ever- watchful and vigilant lion that will not hesitate to strike when threatened.

Ai B. Smith
Hagerstown




Can specialists' worth be proved?


To the editor:

In a recent letter to The Herald-Mail, several Fountaindale Elementary School teachers have touted the Student Achievement Specialist (SAS) program as "invaluable." That may indeed be their experience. However, a program that has cost citizens of Washington County more than $5 million deserves more substantial documentation than "teachers are able to effectively and efficiently target the changing needs of the students."

Available Washington County public school data for grades 3, 4 and 5 show that only 74 percent of the students are testing at proficiency level. Of the 26 percent who are not - candidates, presumably, for SAS custom-tailored interventions - what proof can you offer that 100 percent of them are getting it (and "getting it," as in succeeding)?

More important, how have you quantified that all of pre-K, kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 are "getting it"? Or do we have to wait until they take their third-grade MSA to find out that only one student in four is proficient? Curious taxpayers would like to know.

To date, I have been unable to wrangle justification for SAS spending out of the Central Office administration. Perhaps the Fountaindale letter writers can help us understand how this expense is both effective and efficient. Perhaps, they could also shed light on the veiled threat of "adversely affect(ing) student learning" if the SAS program is discontinued.

Tom Janus
Hagerstown




Don't call us ambulance drivers


To the editor:

I am a national registered paramedic in Kentucky, and I am upset that you used the term "ambulance driver" in a story in your paper and on the Web about an emergency medical technician who lost her life in an accident while transporting a pregnant mother.

It takes a lot of training to be an EMT, and they are more than just ambulance drivers. You could have said the name of the person driving the ambulance or the EMT driving the ambulance. I hate to be called an ambulance driver after all of the money and training I have had to go through.

That is why the media should start taking a little more care and stating things in their proper context. I'm not trying to be rude, but people train long and hard to be where they are and there has not been anything such as just an ambulance driver in years.

Tommy Cash
Kentucky

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