The real pain
Listening to President Bush's bellicose speeches against Saddam, I am reminded of the old surgical practice performed in classical Greece. As an anesthetic, the surgeon would induce a new pain more severe than the pain the surgery would cause in order to divert "pain attention."
There is no question that Saddam is a tyrant, a despot, a murderer, and a dictator. By anyone's standards, he is not fit to be a ruler of a country. He has been violating UN resolutions for the last nine years. Why the sudden urge to remove him from power "within days"? If we have waited this long, why can't we give diplomacy a chance? Could it be that we are being induced with a Hypocritical (ooops, I mean Hippocratic) "surgical pain diversion"?
Our economy is in shambles, corporate greed is rampant, the stock market is at the lowest it has been in years. The criminals who robbed the sweat equity of hard-working, honest, law-abiding citizens are allowed to go free or are not prosecuted. Kenneth Lay (remember him?) is still free, and his associates are skiing in Argentina!
As I approach retirement, I watch my IRAs diminish by the day. I am at the point where I don't even open my statements any more. We have problems to take care of before we embark on a unilateral war against Saddam. We can start by holding accountable the Lays, the Sullivans, the Kozlowskis, the Welshes, the Rigases, and all those who have violated the public's trust and ruined the lives of countless innocent people.
Peter Gekas, Beresford Road, Rochester
Return to Somalia
If we put aside any questions of political intrigue or bias --- like the CIA's careful evaluation of USSR missile forces, which turned out to be severely inflated in order to get the US government to buy into increased defense expenditures during Kennedy's tenure --- we are faced with the following:
1) Iraq, a country controlled by a cartoon dictator (much as Cuba was during the '60s and '70s), possesses some/unknown/huge reservoirs of toxic weapons.
2) These stockpiles were known and talked about even before Operation Desert Storm.
3) There is probably a strong apparatus in place in Iraq to deliver threatening quantities of nuclear bombs. The materials, delivery mechanisms, dates, and targets are not even hazy, they are so unclear.
Therefore, there is a need today for the US to "take out Saddam Hussein." This has nothing to do with the state of the economy (or lack of it). It is a need so severe that it can take place without world support.
The United States is acting as a Global Good Scout, helping keep the world safe. We will not eradicate the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons. Nor will we remove all remnants of al Queda, martyrs, freedom fighters, terrorists, etc --- even from Afghanistan.
This is the likely outcome:
Osama bin Laden (who cannot go a month without kidney dialysis yet escapes detection by the world's intelligence agencies) and the whole sick crew of al Queda, Hezbollah, Intifada, etc., will rally in support of their dear beloved brothers and sisters slain by "intelligent, precision" bombs, which nevertheless will generate collateral damage.
Huge stockpiles of nerve gas and toxic biologicals will be delivered to random and dispersed collections of civilians by political ideologues who hate the United States, and whose actions are justified by men of honesty and religion.
Politically complex governments containing significant populations of respectful Muslim believers will be instantly polarized by their more extremist fundamentalist brothers, seeking to paint things as Good and Evil (as most politicians do) and will ignite, spreading the insanity throughout India and Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and the rest of the Caucasus xxxistans, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc.
And how much more?
R. Rapport, Rush
Shades of the '30s
The "Homeland Security Act," its administration, personnel and personnel relations, and implementations as sought by Bush II is a corporate chief-executive-officer's dream.
Bush proposes to run that portion of the government without legal restraints or restrictions. He wants no interference from the Civil Service, any union agreements, or the courts.
He wants the right to hire, fire, promote, demote, reassign, transfer, and issue orders of conduct without restraint. In brief, forget the Constitution or any other legislation. All in the name of security.
Shades of the '30s in Germany. Is this the rebirth of National Socialism (Nazis)?
This citizen hopes that the up-to-now craven leaders and members of Congress find some courage and put a stop to this power grab. If not, we all may live to regret it.
Remember the fate of the "good" Germans who said it couldn't happen there. The worst did happen, and it can happen here.
Me? I don't want to be that secure.
William Gaden, Stowell Drive, Rochester
Heed the warnings
Every morning I read about another of the unending acts of belligerence, arrogance, and shortsightedness of the Bush administration.
Our government threatens war, refuses to support a ban on landmines or accountability in a world court, and abolishes civil liberties. It resists developing sustainable energy sources, wipes out environment protections, and undermines efforts by other countries to reduce poverty, over-population, and pollution.
Our president threatens countries that do not surrender to the belief that the US has dominion over the resources of the world.
Our government's lack of political perception and absence of a humanistic and moral approach is appalling. This has contributed greatly to placing Americans at risk around the world, as we alienate others and lose respect. With policies driven by the oil barons and special interests, Bush appeals to our fear and greed, not our compassion.
Bush is not a man of courage, wisdom, or peace, and his terrorist policies are a threat to world peace. His draft plan for global dominance is appalling (and unfortunately little reported by the local press).
Weapons of mass destruction are frightening in the hands of both Bush and Hussein. Americans need to heed the warnings coming from the rest of the world about the direction in which this administration is taking our country --- before it is too late.
Lynda Howland, Brook Road, Pittsford
Next with FIF's
I must commend Jack Spula for writing a very informative column about a very complicated subject, the Rochester police department's practice of stopping and not arresting thousands of persons in the city (Taking the FIF," August 14).
The report of the New York Civil Liberties Union on the subject (of which I was a part as counsel) revealed a practice that focuses on young black males in high-minority neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are also areas of the greatest criminal activity in the city. To the police and some members of the public, this correlation justifies the practice. To the NYCLU, the correlation is the beginning of the discussion, not the end.
This discussion should be based on policy, not law. Do the benefits of this level of intense community policing outweigh its costs? The report and the NYCLU's press releases identify some of the costs --- the public perception that race is a basis for these stops, the retention indefinitely of the intelligence gathered.
The burden has now shifted to the Rochester police department to identify and quantify the benefits.
Scott A. Forsyth, Rochester
Letter writer, Michael Kopicki, citing cuts in libraries and parks, wonders in his September 4 Letter to the Editor if we are being led by "maladroit politicos." Were these cuts affecting only those items, crucial as they are to quality of life in a free and democratic society, "maladroit" might be OK. Throw in the human-service cuts and some of the other Doyle proposals and "mal-evolent" seems somehow more accurately descriptive.
Robert C. Insull, Lynnwood Drive, Rochester