Letters to the Editor

Letters from Oct. 20, 2007

Feedback: School funding concerns

Well, I have to remark about Val’s concern that the two-thirds vote requirement on various tax levies is too harsh on the school children of our community (CK Reporter, Oct 17).

I feel that the two-thirds requirement is to ensure the publicity and handwringing by the various factions requiring entry into my pockets will have to convince a super majority of us of the actual needs they want to fund.

It has been my experience, witness the way the Legislature spends our tax money so lavishly, that without some constraint on those who know better than me how to spend my money, they would take it all.

I, for one, would prefer to be able to keep my present abode as long as I can and not have to leave because I could not afford the taxes and levis placed upon me by those who know better etc., etc.

Well, now that I have vented ... I feel much better now ...

Remember Val, most of us have some distrust of those in authority. When we receive enough information of the needs of our schools, and are assured any tax increase will not merely fund a bigger administrative bunch, we will vote for the takings.

FRED GINDER

Bremerton

Letters on letters: No grasp on the facts

In his letter of Oct. 3, Michael Vineyard again misses or avoids the point that we have between 130,000 and 160,000 troops in Iraq without a coherent strategic plan that is tied to a feasible national objective. Judging by the misinformation and incorrect statements he keeps citing as “facts,” I suspect he truly has no grasp of importance of the essential elements of means, ends and ways in utilizing military force to support a national strategy.

The misinformation and unproductive polemics in his writings are quite prevalent. His contention that we invaded Iraq for human rights reasons fly in the face of the preponderance of evidence otherwise and the statements from the Bush administration in earlier days. In the January/February 2004 edition of the “Atlantic Monthly,” Paul Wolfowitz, then the second ranking civilian in the Defense Department, told James Fallows that we would never have invaded Iraq for reasons having to do with human rights.

The Congress was no stampeded into handing over its authority to declare war to an untested, neophyte president, who had little knowledge of war or Iraq, over issues pertaining to human rights. It was the administration’s weapons-of-mass-destruction drumbeat and the utterly false insinuations that Saddam Hussein was allied with Osama Bin Laden that spooked them so, and it is disingenuous to pretend otherwise now that we are in a Middle Eastern quagmire of violence, insurrection and sectarian strife.

In Vietnam, the South Vietnamese government that we established with Ngo Dinh Diem in charge, whom we brought back from exile was a police state not a democracy. More than 80 percent of the people in the countryside distrusted it. Despite more than two decades of investing diplomatic manpower, military blood and national treasure to shore up Saigon’s puppet government and train the South Vietnamese army, corruption and ineptitude ruled. True, most of the people in South Vietnam did not want to live under communism, but they also wanted a government other than the one in Saigon and for the United States military to leave their country. Their disapproval of communism was offset by the historical, highly-documented Vietnamese sense of nationalism and desire to be free of all foreign invaders, including the United States.

At the time of the Paris peace agreement, formally signed on Jan. 27, 1973, the army of President Thieu of South Vietnam was in relatively good shape and controlled about 75 percent of South Vietnam’s territory and about 85 percent of its population. Thieu considered the armistice just a “phase” in the war and avoided the use of the word “peace” in his pronouncements. North Vietnam felt the same way but initially honored the agreement. Thieu brought on a North Vietnam attack by staging military raids into the North and firing 16 times more artillery rounds at them than they fired back. We knew about Thieu’s activities and did nothing to restrain him. With that, the North concluded that the Paris agreement was a sham and struck with sledgehammer force, capturing a province. Then they paused to see what we would do.

What we did was send the nuclear carrier USS Enterprise to their coast as a “show of force” and put the 3rd Marine Battalion in Okinawa on alert without deploying them. After noting this, the North then planned and proceeded with the total destruction of the South Vietnamese army. Only American ground troops concerned them, not the Enterprise.

President Gerald Ford was not restricted by Senator Ted Kennedy and so-called “cut-and-run” Democrats as Michael Vineyard incorrectly stated in his letter. Ford was restricted by his plunge in public approval after he pardoned Richard Nixon and the fact that majority of Americans were completely against any return of American troops to Vietnam. Ford didn’t want to push it any further with the Ford didn’t want to push it any further with the American people.

Michael Vineyard also did not state that President Ford, a Republican president, halted the Saigon evacuation even though the North was not interfering with it so long as it was by helicopters. The attackers had deliberately disabled the Saigon Tan Son Nhut airport for the support of fixed-wing aircraft. All of this is well recorded by respected, award-winning historians, such as A.J. Langguth and Stanley Karnow.

I first encountered the philosopher George Santayana’s often quoted comment about history and remembrance back in the 1960s. Michael Vineyard attributed it to Winston Churchill, a minor error but in keeping with his constant tweaking of what he calls “facts.” Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt opened a presentation he gave in front of the Washington, D.C. Egyptian Embassy on Nov. 4, 2002 with the Santayana quote. Then he immediately said the following: “But what about those who distort the past? What about those who deliberately rewrite the past, as well as the present, and use it to perpetuate hatred and distrust?”

Perhaps distorted polemics are too ingrained in Michael Vineyard for him to acknowledge my point that we have a large military force in Iraq with no feasible strategic plan that is supported by the essential elements of means and ends in order that military commanders might find ways to meet out national strategic goals, a sure recipe for military futility. However, my point is and was for the general readership.

ROBERT A. TAYLOR

Silverdale

Fairness Doctrine: Open air to opposing views

To establish tyranny one must suppress dissenting views.

Knowing that in a free exchange of ideas tyranny always loses, the framers of our Constitution wisely included the First Amendment forbidding censorship by government.

Totalitarian liberalism, which thrives on fear, ignorance and intolerance of opposing views, found a loop-hole. With virtually unlimited financial resources, the left simply bought, or wormed their way into, control of higher education — which then graduates a leftist pseudo-intelectual elite that now dominates the mainstream media—ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and most big city newspapers.

But they don’t control quite all of it—and they find ANY honest dissent intolerable.

What panics them most are talk-radio hosts like Limbaugh, Hanity, and Levine, who boldly speak truths that liberals want censored —l ike a tiny conservative David pitted against the seemingly invincible liberal Goliath.

Liberal Democrats have a solution for that too — the deceptively titled “Fairness Doctrine,” whereby whenever conservatives reveal “politically incorrect” facts, the radio station must give equal time — at their expense — to leftist frothings.

This would be so expensive and troublesome that most radio stations will simply drop all conservative talk shows. This de facto censorship liberals call “fairness.”

HELEN WASSMAN

Vancouver

School levies: Approve EHJR 4204 for simple majority

Please vote for students; APPROVE EHJR 4204. School levies should pass with a simple majority vote. Yes, education should be the No. 1 priority for federal and state funds. However, our state school districts still, unfortunately, depend on school levies for basic school needs such as textbooks, smaller class sizes, building maintenance and repair.

School district personnel and board members deliberate and analyze programs and student educational needs as they carefully calculate and determine how much to ask for in a school levy.

As it is now, only 40 percent-plus-one of the voters can cause a levy to fail.

That’s wrong. Yes, a district can run a levy more than once, but with much more effort, time and money that could be spent on student education in the first place. A levy failure affects the total educational program for students. Students deserve a high quality education for the benefit for them and our whole community. Please approve 4204 for a simple majority

HELEN HOOVER

Kingston

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