Letters to the Editor - Dec. 27

December 27, 2011

Costs of war will continue long after its end

To the editor:

The Iraqi war is ending, according to President Obama, but try telling that to the families of the 4,400 Americans killed and the some 30,000-plus veterans left with no arms or legs, or with other life-altering brain injuries. No, this war is only in the beginning stages of grief, loss and mental torture in trying to establish their shattered and broken lives. No, we Americans cannot be bursting with patriotic joy over the ending to this nine years of death, destruction and mayhem.

First, there is the price tag this and future generations will be paying to fund this bloodshed. Estimates run as high as a trillion dollars, but no one can say for sure the amount spent on the “shock and awe” war to find and destroy these nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction” Iraq supposedly had. Each time I relive the speech Secretary of State Powell presented the U.N. Security Council on justifying our intervention, I am revolted by the hypocrisy that my own government would initiate on an international stage.

Second, there is the naive notion that through military action we can establish a democracy in an oil-rich Arab nation already divided by centuries of sectarian hatred. In fact, the violence cascaded over the killing fields so strongly that 140,000 troops with superior training and firepower could not stop the Iraqis from killing each other. We needed a “surge of 30,00 more troops,” President Bush decided.

Unfortunately, it is less clear now what will happen as our troops are leaving. With a Shia government in control, an uneasy power-sharing parliament and a belligerent Shia Iran next door just waiting for the U.S. forces to exit, only history will make the final call. President Obama’s call for all Americans to reflect on all that we’ve been through is indeed relevant today. During this Christmas season, “peace on earth” must continue to be our goal. Military intervention cannot coerce democracy upon Iraq, Syria or any other nation.

With most other Americans, I am relieved to see our troops coming home and to see a new focus on “building America.” It’s high time Iraq did its own nation building.     

Blanton Croft

Powell’s determination of ‘personhood’ is bad science

To the editor:

In Allan Powell’s Dec. 12 column, he brings the power invested in him, as a standard bearer of the Enlightenment, to determine those human beings to whom he will grant “personhood.” Among other things, he denies protection to the child in the womb and praises the defeat of the proposed Mississippi Personhood amendment. He claims that the “fertilized egg is not a child,” just as an acorn is not an oak tree. This is simply bad science.

Once the acorn has been “fertilized” with the correct conditions of soil, moisture and temperature and begins to sprout, it is a tiny oak and nothing else. The human zygote is a tiny human being — a human person, by definition — and nothing else. He or she is a human person full of potentials racing to be expressed in the working out of a set of design instructions more intricate than any programmer can contrive. He or she is not just some kind of potential person that must meet Powell’s arbitrary requirements of being “conscious of his social relations …” or is “a self conscious or rational being” before he will grant it “personhood.” By that standard, we are no longer persons when we sleep or when we are in a coma or have lost our rational powers by the onset of dementia.

In saying that the proposed amendment would “have made illegal some forms of birth control …” he admits that the birth-control pill and items like the IUD (intrauterine device) work in part or wholly by preventing the tiny child from implanting in the wall of the uterus and thus starving to death. How many women has he enlightened to that fact?

Richard Giovanoni

A plea for help to save the Playhouse

To the editor:

We are in danger of losing a Washington County gem. The Washington County Playhouse has announced that it is scheduled to close following its April performance. I have no formal affiliation with the Playhouse; I am simply a patron.

To shutter this theatre at this time seems so wrong. The arts have long helped us through our daily stress and eased our burdens. But as a victim of the very thing that has caused so much pain to so many, we need to assure its future.  

Are there no benefactors out there to help this important venue make it through these tough economic times? I, for one, am hoping for a miracle.

Carolyn Perrygo

E. Russell Hicks must be smiling down from above

To the editor:

It was great to see the coverage of “History comes alive for students” on the front page of The Herald-Mail (Dec. 16).

Those of us who were privileged to sit in classes taught by E. Russell Hicks at South Potomac Junior High School (now Bester Elementary) will remember his sharing his all-encompassing knowledge of the history of Washington County as it related to the Civil War. While the classes were actually Ancient History and first-year Latin, we were always treated to interesting facts and stories about our county. This fostered interest in our hometown and environs, and while I lived away from this area for 65 years, returning at retirement, my appreciation for the rich history of this area remains with me today.

I am certain E. Russell Hicks is looking down on us, smiling and feeling gratified that our young students today are being taught this same appreciation.

Mary Louise Varner Rosborough

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