Letters to the Editor

Letters: On VA care, Saudi Arabia, the ‘Israel resolution,’ Mack Brown and more

Thank you, Durham VA

I’d like to share a recent experience that my family and I had with the Durham VA hospital. My brother was a patient there for 16 days, and I cannot say enough good things about the care he received.

From the minute he entered the emergency room, the staff there converged on him swiftly and professionally. Not only did they give my brother top-notch care, but the doctors and nurses, administrative staff, and chaplains were a constant source of care and support for me and my family. They all knew our names, and we knew theirs. We had the utmost confidence in them all.

Unfortunately, my brother did not make it, but those doctors did everything they possibly could to save his life. And they were all there with us as we said goodbye to him. It was an extraordinary experience that none of us will ever forget. Thank you to those of you who work so hard and care so much for our veterans at the Durham VA hospital. And thank God for you!

The sisters of George Russell “Butch” Sawyer: Donna Sawyer Faircloth and Diane Sawyer Broome


Singling out Israel

On April 16, the Durham City Council passed a statement making Durham the first city in the United States to ban police trainings specifically with Israel – the only Jewish majority country on the planet.

Mayor Schewel and Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson referred to the statement as the “Israel resolution.” Johnson explained it is “a statement affirming a city policy against police exchanges with Israel.”

The Durham Human Relations Commission (HRC) was asked by the mainstream Jewish community to consider “that the City Council’s statement was unfair, unwarranted and discriminatory, and created unnecessary tensions and divides within the Durham community.” The HRC responded with a well-researched draft report which asks the council to remove the singling out of Israel from its statement.

The HRC wrote about the City Council’s lack of transparency, explaining that the council: 1. Failed to properly inform the public on the April 5 and April 16 agendas about the focus of those meetings. 2. Waived City Council policy for anti-Israel activists. 3. Used “personal email addresses to conduct official city business.” 4. Provided “only 10 days of public deliberation [which] seems too short for an issue so clearly important to members of our community.”

The HRC’s draft recommends the City Council “adhere to better practices … to ensure fair and equitable access to the business of the City of Durham for all residents.” The report should make clear to council members they need to heal the injury they have recklessly caused with the Jewish minority of Durham. I thank the HRC for their evidence-based draft report and ask them to vote to approve it.

Peter Reitzes

Chapel Hill

Saudis are not our friends

As Western allies contemplated support for Stalin after Germany’s invasion of the U.S.S.R., Winston Churchill, while agreeing reluctantly, is purported to have quipped that were the Nazis to invade Hell, he’d even be willing to say a kind word for the devil. It was his way of saying: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

But even before WWII had ended, it became clear to many that the Soviet Union was not our friend at all. Jump to 2018. Is the fact that the Saudis are religious and political “enemies”of Iran sufficient reason for us to consider them our best friends in the region? No!

Saudi Arabia’s societal norms, its control over civilian life, its repression of women, its record on torture ... all are inimical to American values. Regrettably, we’ve ignored that in the past. But a line has been crossed; and for the nation’s chief executive to urge that for the sake of profit from weapons sales we overlook the fact that the Saudi government sent assassins abroad to gruesomely murder and dismember an American journalist is nothing less than appalling.

Congress should act immediately to cut off all military arms sales and military collaboration with the Saudi Kingdom. No financial deal should take precedence over protecting God-given human rights. Churchill’s quip about speaking kindly of Satan has always had one major glitch. The devil is, after all, the devil. And in the end, after bestowing lucrative gifts, he has a way of demanding one’s very soul.

Joe Moran


Trump’s wall has two sides

Our dictator on training wheels is obsessed with building a southern border wall. He’s poised to throw a government shutdown temper tantrum if he doesn’t get his way.

He claims the wall’s only purpose is to keep others out. But his wall, like the Berlin Wall — which, before it was demolished in 1989, kept oppressed East Germans from escaping — will have two sides. And who knows what our future holds?

If you listen closely, you’ll faintly hear the ghost of President Ronald Reagan: “President Trump, don’t build that wall.”

Lou Meyers


Helping vets

My heart goes out to all the people that suffered during hurricanes Matthew and Florence and the fires in Paradise, California. It’s my prayer that Christians everywhere will be involved in some way to lessen the stress of those that lost everything, and they may know we care.

I believe in life there are givers and takers. So many times when tragedy happens, people or businesses will try to make a profitable gain from those unfortunate individuals. Remember that if the same happened to you, you would want givers on your side.

Veterans Day has come and gone but being a veteran myself, I’ve talked to veterans. who say the VA hospitals are now giving good service, and I believe President Trump is doing a good job helping vets get the service they deserve. I can remember years ago going to the VA and being told, you’re stabilized, get your own doctor, and I did. I went back later and tried to get medicine and was told, we ain’t no pharmacy, so I quit trying. I’m thankful that the VA now is helping veterans, which was promised when I was drafted in 1944.

If the Democrats have the answer to health care, bring it on. I personally don’t believe in socialized medicine in our country of 350 million people. My advice, don’t touch Medicare. Medicaid is available. My wife and I have five girls and neither of us had a college degree but we worked and paid monthly for medical insurance, with no government assistance.

W.B. Turner


Expectations for Brown

An article was written titled “Former North Carolina coach Mack Brown to be tapped to lead UNC football team again” a few days ago. The article describes a coach who sounds like he could be the savior of their program.

While bringing in this new head coach could be a beam of hope for the future of the program, I don’t believe that the impact will be as positive or impressive as expected.

First off, the past for Mack Brown is so bright and glorified, the expectations are set very high. Living up to the expectations are going to be a challenge of their own, not to mention the ACC division. Bringing a team that is currently seventh in its conference with a record of 2-9 for this year, restoring them to what Coach Brown used to have them at will be an enormous hurdle for this team to battle and overcome.

As respected as Brown is, college football has changed a lot since he last coached, UNC could be on the lookout for another head coach in the very near future.

Jared A Stoia


Related stories from Durham Herald Sun