Letters to the Editor

December 10, 2009

Economy suffers while we pour money into war

To the editor:

President Obama's West Point speech designed to clarify his Afghanistan war policy should make all Americans shudder with fear because of its goal to "strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan security forces and its government."

Surely, our president must realize the price he is asking our soldiers to pay and our taxpayers to fund with such grandiose goals.

First, 849 Americans have been killed along with hundreds injured in this nine-year struggle. With the president identifying an exit strategy of 2011 in his speech and military experts proclaiming at least another 10 years needed to stabilize the tribes into a nationalist unity, this figure is only the beginning of a casualty list that could reach into unthinkable numbers.


Second, the U.S. military is spending billions now on construction projects to ensure Afghanistan can support American forces. Already, more than $2.7 billion on road construction has been spent with a 2010 appropriation bill giving them another $1.3 billion to spend on more than 100 projects at 40 sites across the provinces. At Bagram air field alone, the military will build a $30 million passenger terminal to be turned over to the Afghans upon completion.

This outlay does not include all the vast monies that have already been spent on roads, airports, transportation upgrades and training of young male Afghans to serve. Do not forget that up to 90 percent of these men cannot read or write. Now, the president projects another $30 billion to pay for the surge during the first year alone.

Third, the announcement of a target date for withdrawal in 2011 is really a strategic blunder for "bringing this war to a successful conclusion," a direct quote from our commander in chief. Not only the entire world knows it, but the tribal chiefs who are leading the insurgency know to lay low and conserve their weaponry, manpower and materials. The Taliban need no spies in their strategic planning as we just broadcast to the world when it's "pullout time."

The American taxpayers must assertively let their voices be heard now. Write, e-mail or call your Congress members and ask them to stop this senseless flow of your dollars to this "nation building" of Afghanistan. Our economy continues to suffer, yet we continue to bring prosperity to a region that Henry Kissinger calls "neither a country nor a state."

Blanton Croft

Locally produced food can help local economy

To the editor:

There is a huge opportunity in this community for economic growth and it's sitting right in front of us at every meal. I'm talking about our food.

To put the true scale of this opportunity into focus, think about how much you spend on groceries in a week and multiply it by the 145,000 residents of Washington County. We're talking millions of dollars. Where does all that money go? Flip your apple or bag of potatoes over and read - California, Idaho, Florida, Chile, Mexico, even China. Yes, a portion of each dollar goes to paying salaries and expenses of our grocery stores and eating establishments, but the rest forms an overwhelming river of money that leaves our community, never to be seen again.

We're lucky enough to live in an extremely rich agricultural region that can produce every element of our diet from vegetables, fruits and baked goods to dairy products, eggs and meats.

So let's seriously ask ourselves why our grocery stores sell apples from Chile and not Smithsburg? Is our quest for the cheapest worth outsourcing jobs from local, hardworking farm families? Buying food that's not local strips the community of wealth and prosperity and funds growth elsewhere. So let's challenge restaurants and supermarkets to not just be open for business in our community, but to do business in our community by sourcing the food they sell from our fields and our farmers. The next time you go to the grocery store or out to eat, ask, "What do you have that's local?"

Most importantly, let's challenge ourselves to be empowered, patriotic consumers and use our spending power to keep our hard-earned dollars circulating in the neighborhood economy. That has the potential to make all those daily food purchases we think nothing about into powerful little investments in ourselves.

We are the shareholders of our community, so let's write Washington County on every dollar we spend and enjoy seeing those dollars again and again.

Hunter Wade

Please return nativity scene to Chambersburg

To the editor:

I was appalled and greatly saddened to hear that the nativity scene was removed in Chambersburg, Pa. Why do we let a chosen few who do not understand the birth of Christ control our lives?

Our forefathers fought and died for our religious freedom. Within the past decades, we have people who dictate and tell us what we can and cannot do. What is the next step, to ban Christmas shows or music because it might irritate someone's eyes or ears to see such beautiful music?

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