Letters to the Editor - Dec. 20

December 20, 2011

Congress must end dependence on dirty oil

To the editor:

The political scheming in Congress to slip a rider that would undermine crucial reviews of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline onto the must-pass payroll tax cut bill is the latest desperate attempt by Big Oil to force its agenda on the American people.

Despite President Obama’s recent decision to take more time to evaluate the massive project and his threat to veto any bill with a Keystone XL rider, oil industry lobbyists continue to hammer away on the issue, churning out false jobs claims and pushing to bypass environmental review altogether.

The proposed 2,000 mile-long Keystone XL pipeline poses an enormous threat to wildlife, clean water and our nation’s clean energy future; and it’s critical that it receives proper review and public scrutiny. Last year’s BP oil spill disaster and devastating pipeline spills in Michigan and the Yellowstone River should have been enough of a wake-up call to know Keystone XL is a bad idea.

Congress shouldn’t be putting the greed of polluters ahead of economic recovery in communities across America, and instead should be working on bipartisan solutions to end our dependence on dirty oil.

Maria Dobbs
Clear Spring

U.S. military presence in Iraq saved civilian lives

To the editor:

On Dec. 15, 2011, the American flag was lowered from the military base in Baghdad, marking the end of the eight-year-long war in Iraq. The war was a long, drawn-out affair, and it was only this year that President Obama announced the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the beginning of Operation New Dawn: the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and training Iraqi soldiers to keep their people safe.

The subtle ceremony stood in sharp contrast to the ferocious beginning of the war, a massive aerial bombardment on the suspected area where Saddam Hussein was hiding. Almost 5,000 coalition soldiers were killed in the fighting, with enemy casualties numbering in the tens of thousands. Sadly, the civilian casualties are larger than the two combined: Over a hundred-thousand civilian deaths due to the war were recorded. One of the longest wars the United States has been in, many soldiers and their families are glad to see their loved ones again.

While some may argue that the United States could have pulled out sooner, the fact remains that if we had, many more civilians would have been killed. If we had left without training or helping the Iraqi army and police forces, they would have been as helpless as when we arrived.

The official mission of the Iraq War was to end the threat posed to the U.S. and our allies by al-Qaeda and to liberate Iraq. We accomplished that goal, and we aided the Iraqis to liberate Iraq, and keep it free. If we hadn’t, al-Qaeda would have returned eventually and easily overwhelmed the Iraqis. We helped to make sure they wouldn’t slaughter any more civilians.

James Coe

Americans seem to be changing for the better

To the editor:

Have you noticed lately how, as Americans, we seem to be changing for the good? Isn’t it great to hear people, even clerks in stores, saying “Merry Christmas” again? After all, it is Jesus Christ’s birthday. Thank you, all.

I remember a few years ago, I gave my normal greeting to a lady I had just met, then I remembered she didn’t celebrate as we did. She said thank you, and when I told her I didn’t mean it as an insult, she said she knew that I was just being nice and she appreciated that. And I appreciated her attitude.

Did you see the lights and the trees that Williamsport decorates in the park and at the barn? They allow you to enjoy it for nothing, and an organization had Santa where you could take your own photos at no charge. A lot of people don’t have money for extras like that. So thoughtful.

There are a lot of families missing someone this year around their tree. It is so good to see so many people realizing what the military and veterans do and have done for us. Thank you all for that and to the restaurants that offered free meals. We will give you more business because you show you care. We all love good customer service. I have received excellent help from some. I’ll try to forget about the bad experiences, but won’t be buying from some people ever again.

Remember, there are many people who have empty seats at the dinner table this year. Maybe a loved one has gone to Heaven. But can you imagine a better place to celebrate?

Keep up the good work; we will get back to the good ole days yet. Merry Christmas to all of you. May you have a happy and safe New Year.

Darlene Hoffman

Keep Penn State off front page; support sheriff’s idea

To the editor:

The Herald-Mail on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, had front-page article on “Penn State coach testifies he saw, reported molestation.” Enough of this ... He does not deserve front-page reading.

“Day Reporting Center seems like good idea,” from your Opinion page. I agree; let’s save the taxpayers money on more important needs. Good thinking and suggestion from The Herald-Mail and Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore. Let’s do this, County Commissioners. Seriously consider the Mullendore plan.

Edward B. Jenkins

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