Letters to the Editor, March 20

Mar. 19, 2014 @ 11:07 AM

The language of war

At the beginning of the Iraq war our leaders in Washington described the fighting forces as a “coalition.” We were led to believe that dozens of countries from around the world joined the United States in fighting the evil leaders in Baghdad. Today we know that a true coalition never existed. Nearly all of the Iraq war casualties (94 percent) were U.S. military personnel.  The cost of the Iraq war, estimated at $3 trillion, was funded almost entirely by the United States.

Soon after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced cutbacks in several military programs, conservative voices began using the word “retreat” to describe America’s foreign policy. The Wall Street Journal cited the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, ending nearly nine years of war, as a retreat. A recent WSJ Opinion page article titled “America’s Global Retreat” suggests  that military power should play a bigger role in our foreign policy.  Critics of our foreign policy need to realize that use of the word retreat can bring shame to the men and women who fight our wars.

Barry L. Reece

Pittsboro

Road to self-destruction

Regarding the National Security Agency’s snooping activities sponsored by this administration: As we sort it all out, let’s remember the NSA’s good efforts have certainly contributed to our safety since that epic day of terrorism known as 9/11. “Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.” Caution.

“SNAFU” was a common acronym heard during my military years. Its meaning: “Situation normal all fouled up.” It pretty well describes our present administration. I have tried my best to come up with one thing they have accomplished that ended up with a positive outcome. If there is one, it eludes me. It would be most difficult to continually produce one blunder after another without forethought, planning and intent. It is inconceivable that any one group could be so completely incompetent. For the first time in my very long life I’m really, really, frightened when contemplating the future of my country. I’m especially concerned for kids, grandkids and great-grandkids. They don’t deserve this mess!

Slowly but surely the very fabric of this nation, the Constitution, is being shredded. This once-leader of the world’s free nations is now merely an also-ran. We now stipulate that we lead by following -- which defies explanation. Just where are we headed? Well, our heading is now reminiscent of the bird that flies in ever-diminishing circles until it ends up flying right up itself; a sure road to self destruction. How very sad for a once-proud nation. Time to change the flight plan!

Ernie Wendell

Durham      

Keep heat on DENR

Thanks for Sunday's editorial on the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Of course, the headline should have been "keep the heat under DENR's feet" since all the shenanigans being revealed show that hoping DENR acts to protect our air and water isn't enough; they need public scrutiny and pressure to keep them from thinking "customer service" to polluters is their only job.

Pat Carstensen

Durham