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Reader feedback 8.4.04

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WHO'S LYING?

I would like to respond to Mary Anna Towler's "The war of Lies" (July 14):

• Fact: A lie is a deliberate, intentional telling of a falsehood. Bi-partisan investigations in both the US and England have found that no one attempted to alter the information from the intelligence agencies. All parties --- Bush, Clinton, Gore, the UN, and the rest of the world --- believed that Saddam Hussein either had or was about to have weapons of mass destruction.

If the scientists who worked for Saddam Hussein are to be believed, they told Saddam that they had WMD's in order to stay alive and to continue to receive funding from him.

• Fact: The war on terror was never stated to be or intended to be just against Al Qaeda. It was to also be against those who supported it and funded it. The link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda has been documented by the investigation by Congress. Although no direct link between Saddam and 9/11 has been proven, his support through money and allowing training of recruits in Iraq has been proven.

You may disagree that this is reason enough to attack Iraq, but some questioned why the US went to war with Germany when we were attacked by Japan and sent most of our forces against Germany. (Historical point: Germany declared war on the US, but the US did not attempt to remain at peace with Germany.)

• Fact: Germany, Russia, and France gave lip service to supporting war against terror, but as it was against their economic interests, they would never have moved against Iraq. France has been the strongest voice against war with Iraq and had the greatest economic reason to do so. They had billions of dollars in contracts with the Hussein government and were owed additional billions in debt that they would not be able to collect against a new government. And as shown by the UN scandal, individuals in France, Germany, Russia, and the UN were made rich by illegal use of the Oil for Food program.

• Fact: Yes, there were and are those who disagree with the war. The Lunatic Left in the US --- Ted Kennedy, Al Gore (who was a strong believer in the intelligence until he was out of office), and the rest of the "everything Bush does is wrong crowd" was against the war.

Many thought that the UN should have been put in control when 9/11 happened. But I will also point out that both of the Democratic ticket members voted for the war based on the same information that Bush, Clinton, and the rest of the world believed and as of yet has not been proven wrong.

• Fact: Yes, the war has cost billions of dollars and hundreds of American lives. But look at the cost of doing nothing, as the Clinton administration did after the first attack on the Twin Towers during his administration.

Do you think that it is mere chance that we have not been hit since 9/11? There is a lot to be said to fighting the enemy "over there" instead of here. I have yet to hear from those who disagree with the president as to how they would handle the war other than giving control over to the UN --- who are well paid not to do anything.

I have heard some complain that Osama bin Laden would have been captured by now if we had not gone after Hussein. Maybe yes and maybe no, but the war is not about one man.

• Fact: Clinton was not impeached for having an affair. He was impeached for being the head of government and lying under oath in a court of law. The big difference between Republicans and Democrats is that when the proof against Nixon came out, the Republicans went to the White House and forced him to resign. When the proof about Clinton came out, the Democrats went to the White House and refused to demand any standard of behavior by the president.

• Fact: Ms. Towler has called Mr. Bush a lair. She has not documented one single case in which (unlike Clinton) he lied. Has he made mistakes? Yes. Could other plans have been used? Yes. Would we be better off if other methods have been used? No way to know. We only know that we have not been attacked in the almost three years since 9/11. The only lair proven by Ms. Towler was herself.

John Cook, Chili


NO MORE WAITING FOR AN ARTS CENTER

Ten years ago, I was spending the summer in Pittsburgh and my family sent me an article about an arts center, which was to have three stages. It was to be completed by the year 2000. I was intrigued, but the millennium was still six years away.

When I came back to Rochester in 1999, I wondered what was happening with the arts center. About the end of the year, there were many newspaper articles about the center, but the main thing was, it was still in the talking stages.

One of the articles gave the results of a poll, which had the arts center at the top of a wish list. Other wishes included the fast ferry, the soccer stadium, and the bus depot.

It's 2004, and the arts center is still in the talking stages. What's more, I find that the arts center has been in the talking stages not for 10 years but for 15 years. Fifteen years! In the meantime, the fast ferry is up and running, the soccer stadium is in development, and it looks like even a casino will be built before the arts center.

I want an arts center very much. But I don't want it in a casino, and I don't want it clumped with a bus depot and an MCC satellite campus. The center deserves to be in a structure all its own.

At this point, I would like to see one of two things happen. 1) Someone with vision, integrity, and authority would say: "This city wants and deserves an arts center." That person would go on to pick a space, tell us how much it's going to cost, tell us how much time it's going to take to build, and then build the space.

Either that, or we should make a decision to use the money that was going to go to the arts center on something worthy, like education, and never talk about the arts center again.

I mean, really: it's been 15 years.

Dan Kennedy, Eaglesfield Way, Fairport


SAVING THE TREASURES

Several amenities in Rochester are threatened by shortsighted plans made by a few with money and power, when they could be saved with alternative plans.

For example, just as the Renaissance Center idea for the Main-Clinton-Mortimer-St. Paul block is a bad idea for downtown, so too is the idea for a hotel and casino on the current Sibley and Midtown sites. All of the small retail businesses and restaurants that they would contain would be lost, among other things.

Instead, Midtown should be revitalized with a cultural-mall type of performing arts center, as suggested by Luanne Davis Haggerty of RIT (The Mail, July 14). Furthermore, the newly renovated Auditorium Center would be threatened by the Renaissance Center plan for a performing arts center. That would not happen with the cultural mall.

We are in danger of losing the High Falls Entertainment District, the former subway tunnel (which could be used by a main line for a new light rail system), and the former Hojack swing bridge, which could be used by a trolley line between Charlotte and Seabreeze.

High Falls could be revitalized with either a Class II or Class III gaming facility and a light rail or trolley line. The district could be helped by replacing the Inner Loop with an at-grade boulevard and placing the railroad tracks below grade. These transportation projects, as well as an entire network of light rail and/or trolleys, restoring the EZ Rider bus service, and an alternative bus station could be created using federal transportation dollars currently earmarked for the Renaissance Center.

Kevin Yost, Middle Road, Henrietta


PENNY PINCHER

If George W. Bush supports our troops wholeheartedly, why is his administration planning to reduce the benefits these brave soldiers are looking forward to?

According to the Army Times, "the administration announced that on October 1, it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops being shot upon in combat zones."

The Bush administration also opposes legislation that would provide reservists with health care. In fact, Donald Rumsfeld sent a letter to House and Senate leaders stating the administration's opposition to the TRICARE legislation, a bill that would prevent thousands of National Guard reservists from potentially being cut off from health insurance 30 days prior to deactivation.

Bush's 2004 budget proposes a $1.5 billion cut in military family housing. This cut affects military housing, barracks, child-care centers, schools, hangars, and office buildings. House Democrats offered an amendment to restore $1 billion of those cuts, but House Republicans voted it down.

When our soldiers return, disenfranchised by their people and leaders, resentment develops. To deal with resentment, it's only natural to crave revenge. Ask Timothy McVeigh.

Benjamin M. Augustine, SUNY Brockport


WRITING TO CITY

We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: themail@rochester-citynews.com or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester 14607.

Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. We don't publish letters that have been sent to other media. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than about once every two months.

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