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Letters to the editor

October 02, 2005

Enough delay already: Let's build the hospital



To the editor:

While I am a physician on the medical staff of Washington County Hospital, I write this letter as a citizen with a parent, wife, children and numerous friends and loved ones who live in our county and surrounding areas. There are many things that we hold dear - our jobs, our homes and our friends. I submit to you that all of these things would be difficult to enjoy if our health were compromised. There are numerous examples of how technology has improved our lives and nowhere is this more true than in health care.

It is with this in mind that I would like to discuss the proposed replacement hospital. This hospital will be a modern and technologically advanced facility that can provide state-of-the-art care today and into the future. I believe that our current facility provides above-average health care at this time, but as technology advances, we will not be able to keep up in this facility in a meaningful way.

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In many walks of life, we have come to enjoy the fruits of what technology can offer us. We use cell phones, the Internet, iPods and even satellite radio. Why should we not want to have the most up-to-date medical facility that is possible in our community? We currently have one of the oldest working hospitals in the state. Why do we want the best and most advanced technology in the rest of our lives, but settle for less than the best when it comes to our health care?

That's especially true when the modern replacement facility is within reach from a logistical and financial perspective. This community is already behind the times in terms of infrastructure such as schools and roads to meet the demands of our growing population. This is an opportunity to be prepared for increased population growth and advances in technology in health care. Why are our leaders choosing the wrong path again and again?

The political mishandling of this issue over the past few years has been a disservice to our community. It is now estimated that project will cost more than $70 million additional, due to obstructions.

Further delays could increase the cost up to $30 million due to additional inflation and the cost of maintaining the current facility beyond what was originally planned.

This will ultimately be a cost that the community will have to bear. I hope that this project can be approved before our hospital can no longer keep up with the best institutions in the country and our health care becomes substandard. It is then that our loved ones might pay the ultimate price.

Mitesh Kothari, M.D.
Hagerstown

Freedom isn't breaking out in Iraq



To the editor:

I agree with the signs on cars that say "Freedom isn't free," but then I wonder if the owners of those cars are referring to the war in Iraq? If so, I definitely disagree, because whose freedom are our soldiers dying for? Is it for our freedom over here in the U.S.? That was the initial justification for starting this war, but then we found out that Saddam Hussein was not the threat we were led to believe he was. So it changed to "We are seeking to free the Iraqi people."

In light of recent information it has become reasonable to consider if the Iraqi people now are actually less free than they were under Saddam Hussein. It is obvious that Hussein was a brutal dictator who did terrible things to his people and that his sons were even worse.

Now I have never lived in Iraq, but from what I've read, the major crime that was punishable by death was criticizing the government in public, or somehow working toward the overthrow of Hussein. Now, however, we have evidence that Iraq is moving toward an Islamic theocracy, and it is reasonable to assume that this type of government might be even more oppressive and brutal than Hussein's government.

Here is some proof that it is happening already: In Baghdad barbers will not shave men anymore Because the ones who did so were assassinated. Why? because they say the Koran forbids it; a teenager selling Western music CDs on the street in Basra is assaulted by members of religious militias who are aligned with the Iraqi security forces, and is threatened with death if he continues; groups of women who used to sing together in public cannot do so anymore because of death threats; the American ambassador to Iraq has actually urged the governing council to include even more religious laws in the constitution than they had originally planned.

The reporter who broke the story about what is going on in Basra was himself assassinated. So we are left with the horrendous and perverse conclusion that the result of this war, on which we have spent billions of dollars, in which almost 2,000 of our soldiers have been killed, in which many more thousands of our soldiers have been grievously wounded, may be the establishment of a theocracy just like Iran.

I think that this result is inevitable regardless of when we pull out. And it will become obvious to all but the most fervent supporters of this war that the invasion of Iraq was a monumental mistake.

Bernard F. Murphy
Hedgesville, W.Va.

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