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Letters to the editor

August 01, 2008

Consider factors other than the surge



To the editor:

I'm responding to Kathleen Parker's piece in the Opinion section of the July 30 Herald-Mail titled "Obama needs to admit he erred on the surge:"

Parker makes the same two errors in assumptions that all McCain supporters make regarding the surge. First, Sen. Obama is using the definition of "working" that was used to justify the surge in the first place - that it would give the government time to do the work it was supposed to do, while McCain redefined "working" as a reduction in violence.

Anyone who has worked the streets of any big city, or knows anything about police work, knows that more cops on the street can reduce violence.

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That's not the issue. If our goal was to be a larger occupying force in Iraq, then Sen. McCain's definition is correct. If we go by the original intent of the surge, there is a legitimate question as to whether it is working.

The second questionable assumption is that the surge is the sole reason the government and its army and police stepped up to take their responsibilities to protect the people.

Review the time line; when the surge first started there was very poor performance by the Iraqi army and police. It wasn't until we elected a less sympathetic Congress that the Iraqi government and police began to step up. I would suggest, from the time line, that our change in congressional attitude had as much, if not more, influence on the Iraqi government's sudden activity as the surge.

Is the surge "working?" It depends upon your definition of "working." Are things improving in Iraq? No question. Would things be improving had we simply changed our Congress to a less sympathetic Congress committed to leaving Iraq and not sacrificed our dead and wounded in the surge? Possibly.

There is no way to evaluate an alternative to the surge except in conjecture, but it doesn't appear that the surge cannot be credited as the only cause of improvement in Iraq, either.

Robert E. Ayrer
Falling Waters, W.Va.




Help isn't always this easy to find



To the editor:

In response to Mr. Arpaio's letter on July 28: You do not know addictions, unless you have dealt with them or with someone else who is fighting them.

I have dealt with people whom I care about, fighting them for years. As for the courts ordering them to AA/NA, that is not always true. My son was never ordered to either. I begged his public defenders in two states to ask the judge to order him to some sort of treatment when he was 17.

They told me they had to look out for his best interest, which was to get him off the charges as best they could. My son is now dead. Tell me, how was that in his best interest? I had to finally come up with the money to pay a lawyer who would ask the judge for rehab, but my son was denied - and by the way, the rehab was one that was run by the DOC. My son tried to get into NA while in the DOC, however there are not enough classes and you have to wait months sometimes to get in. Then he was moved twice to different prisons, so he would have to start the process all over again. He gave up and tried to fight it on his own and lost the battle.

And please, tell me when have you ever heard of someone robbing or killing someone because of a food addiction? How can a food addiction possibly compare to drugs or alcohol.

And I never said that the people who commit crimes because of their addictions should be let off. I just said that there is not enough help in the courts or prisons for these people. And as for getting help on the outside, most people cannot afford it or don't have insurance to pay for it.

Pippa Spencer
Hagerstown




Mediocrity will not be tolerated



To the editor:

To come of age, as many Americans did in the late '60s and early '70s, was an experience that changed individuals for a lifetime. Some came of age on the battlefields of Vietnam, some came of age on the streets of southern towns and cities, others came of age on college campuses.

No matter where the coming of age occurred, the status quo no longer existed. For some of us it determined the kind of employment we sought and how we raised our children.

Some might say similar upheavals have occurred since, but I would disagree. Now that those individuals who were part of that experience are beginning to transition to retirement, it is my belief they are not going to settle for mediocrity in government, in medical care or in any facet of life.

Meredith Fouche
Sharpsburg

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