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Letters to the editor

September 20, 2005

Editorial cartoon a scurrilous attack



To the editor:

Last Sunday's editorial cartoon by Rob Rock has me upset enough to want to vomit. How could you as a responsible, intelligent staff of the only paper in town print something as scurrilous as this cartoon?

Are you so ignorant you don't know that what Councilman Lewis Metzner was talking about was his Jewish faith barring him from holding office until 1819 ?

Councilwoman Kelly Cromer tried to point out to Councilperson Alesia Parson-McBean that there is a separation of church and state, which does not permit the council to underwrite something so blatantly religious -and only one religion, Christianity, and one sect, Evangelicals - as this Harvest Revival of Christian Worship Festival.

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No one said the Harvest Festival couldn't be held; it just cannot be underwritten by our local government with a contribution of cash and insurance for it.

May I suggest that in the future, the editorial page staff watch a tape of the meeting being used for material/content for the paper before they jump in with any response?

Otherwise you risk looking ignorant and insensitive at best, indifferent and racist at worst.

Mary W. Haines

Hagerstown




Fault lies at local level



To the editor:

I think people should stop blaming the federal government so harshly for not responding to Hurricane Katrina. It may have come in a few days late, but what did the local governments do? The city of New Orleans had an emergency plan in place, but they did not follow it. Not only that, but they had even drilled for such an emergency. They did not follow these plans.

We have all seen pictures on TV of hundreds of buses under the flood waters, buses which could have been used to evacuate the people. Thousands of people could have been evacuated if the local and state government officials had done their jobs. Now these officials are blaming the federal government for all of their problems.

For years, FEMA has told people that they need to keep an emergency survival kit that can last for two weeks - first-aid kits, water, food, energy snacks, matches and various other items. Countless lives and agony could have been spared if everyone had had one of these and been prepared as the federal government had instructed.

The federal government cannot make people help themselves. By law, they are not even allowed to do that or come in and help a state unless the state asks for it. The governor of Louisiana didn't ask until four days after the hurricane. Once the government gets a call, it takes at least 24 hours to load a freight ship, then another couple of days to sail from wherever it is stationed.

In conclusion, people should blame local governments and themselves more often than they blame the federal government. The federal government already has enough problems with Iraq, terrorists and other issues.

Matthew Johnson

Boonsboro High School




Iraq looking more and more like 'Nam



To the editor:

Lewis M. Simons, an ex-Marine and reporter, wrote a front page article for The Washington Post (Aug. 28) in which he compared the mistakes of the Vietnam conflict with similarities to our current situation in Iraq. In the well-written article, Simons stated there were 392 American deaths in Vietnam from 1962 to 1964 and by the time we left in 1975, some 58,000 American lives had been sacrificed.

Any soldiers who found themselves in Vietnam during those years, or any family who suffered the loss of a loved one still asks the question, "Why?" Why was it necessary to engage in this "conflict?" Why was it necessary for 58,000 soldiers to die? Why was it necessary for politicians (Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara in those days) to fill the media with so many distortions and propaganda?

Cindy Sheehan's position at Camp Casey as a grieving mother and the loss of her son gives her the right to ask the question, "Why?" to the war in Iraq. Those American soldiers in Iraq will find it more and more frustrating as the war continues.

How do you identify the enemy? What does a terrorist look like in Iraq? Do you wait until they shoot at you to shoot back? As the campaign continues, more and more Americans will also ask "why" in regard to the increase of American losses.

At the end of the day, some 10 to 15 years down the road, history will determine the success or failure of the decision to go to war in Iraq. Simons suggests the results will be the same as they were in Vietnam. I tend to agree.

Vietnam was a complete failure, and those 58,000 dead soldiers and those families left behind to grieve a lifetime are testaments against the military folly and games proffered by politicians at the expense of young soldiers and their families.

McNamara, in his book, "The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam," states the government knew it could not win in Vietnam and pressed on anyway. The soldiers counted among the dead and the living who were in Vietnam knew that long before McNamara's revelation. I suspect they now know the same thing in Iraq.

Lloyd "Pete" Waters

Sharpsburg

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