I agree wholeheartedly with Doug Noble's letter, "End the War Now" (The Mail, December 27) but believe it oversimplifies the issues at hand.
It is imperative that Americans educate themselves about the consequences of pulling out precipitously before engaging Iraq's neighbors. Anyone with a computer mouse and 30 minutes can become educated about the difference between Shia and Sunni Islam and its implications in the current conflict.
The most likely unintended consequence of a rapid, unprepared American exit will be a Balkan-style ethnic cleansing by Shia against Sunni, and an expanded sphere of influence for Iran. Neighboring (largely Sunni) nations are unlikely to tolerate this and will intervene on the side of the Sunni, expanding the war into a regional conflict. Saudi Arabia has already announced its intention to do precisely this.
When the regional conflict threatens the world's oil supply, pitting China, Russia, India, and the United States against each other for a more limited supply, the conflict could easily globalize.
The Democrats must insist that our president engage in the necessary diplomacy immediately to stabilize the region and cultivate the cooperation of Iraq's neighbors. If he refuses or is incapable of doing this, they must begin impeachment proceedings against the president and vice president at once and replace this administration with a competent one.
The war must be ended, now. But a precipitous American pullout without first stabilizing the region could well be our swan song.
Gorgianne Arnold, Avalon Drive, Brighton
I would like to thank Al Reger for his letter regarding the December 6 article, "Rochester and Murder: Content To Contain It?" (The Mail, December 20). Far too often, suburbanites claim to be sympathetic to our situation, and Mr. Reger's honesty is refreshing.
The problem is that City Newspaper's writers, like most middle-class liberals and the politicians who run the city, believe that empathy and a sense of right and wrong will motivate the suburbanites to help us. However, to expect again and again that the suburbanites will do the right thing, even after they've proved again and again that they won't, is either naive or the height of self-deception.
We city residents must take matters into our own hands. Our only hope is to separate our municipality completely from MonroeCounty.
We currently subsidize mall and subdivision construction in the burbs through our county taxes, even as sprawl destroys our city tax base. We obligingly allow construction in the form of arts centers, museums, hospitals, and government buildings which benefit suburbanites but upon which we can level no city property tax. (Meanwhile, the burbs enjoy a much higher proportion of taxable property, but for things which do not benefit the city).
Foolishly, our politicians and media suggest more help from the county and consolidation with the county, as though that's remotely possible. (Consider only Bill Johnson's run for county exec and the county cutting funding for city school nurses to see the reality). The city simply must stop carrying the suburbs on our backs, because we can no longer afford it. Just because we're willing to help the suburbs doesn't mean that they're willing to help us.
Paul Blackburn, Linden Street, Rochester
SEX-OFFENDER LAWS GO TOO FAR
(Regarding "The Missing Pieces in the Sex-Offender Debate," December 20) I am married to an offender and find the laws very unfair to those who make a mistake one time in their life. They are forced to face ridicule and hate for something that they did wrong.
Yes, I know there are those who prey on children. I was a victim of such a person when I was just a child myself, and all I got was a "stop lying" from those who were supposed to protect me. Then I got, "He didn't know what he was doing" when I was 13 and the person was 15.
But it's wrong for someone so lost and confused to be hounded for the rest of his life. He has complied with all the rules and is the first to condemn those who claim they will do it again. If you serve your time as a murderer, all is forgotten when you get out of jail and off probation. It should be the same for one-time sex offenders: they served their time, and if they haven't re-offended or broken any laws, let them build their lives over again.
Yes, maybe keep in contact with the state they broke the laws in, but take their names off the registry and let them and their families have a life.
I have been on both sides of this issue, and I feel it has gone too far. Yes, protect the victims, but we all have rights, and we rush too fast to judge and forget that there is a reason something's happened. And at times, we all need a little help.
I would love to sign my name, but my husband still has time to go.
Arial of Wisconsin
As a resident of the east district and a Democratic activist, I read with great interest "Grist from the Mill" (December 12), which mentioned possible contenders for the east district City Council seat if the incumbent, Lois Giess, decides not to run.
One possible contender not mentioned is Patrick Domaratz. Pat is Democratic chairperson of the 23rd legislative district, a longtime dedicated neighborhood activist, and a labor specialist for the New York State United Teachers.
No matter what the incumbent decides, I urge my fellow Democrats, when they talk to or see Pat, to say, "Run Pat, run."
Gary Levine, Queens Street, Rochester
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