| VailDaily.com

Letter: The attack on Soleimani

The letter from Joe McHugh regarding the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike demonstrates how blind political fidelity negates rational thought processes. McHugh equates Trump’s ordering the killing of Soleimani with Obama’s taking out Osama bin Laden.

Think about this: Obama ordered the killing of a guerilla leader who had masterminded the killing of several thousand people in the U.S. as well as in Europe and Asia. He acted as a stateless rogue whose evil deeds warranted his execution. Don’t misunderstand. Soleimani had the blood of several hundred Americans, soldiers and civilians, on his hands, not to mention that of thousands of Arabs and Iranians. 

The key difference, however, is that Soleimani was a high military official of a foreign government, a government with whom we are not at war. Imagine the U.S. response if Iran had attempted a drone strike on the secretary of state or the secretary of defense during one of their visits to Iraq or Afghanistan. 

And yes, the U.S. did shoot down and kill Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto during World War II, but this was a country with whom we were in a formal state of war declared by Congress. This is a new way of conducting “diplomacy.” How should other countries, perhaps lacking the technical precision to take out key personnel in such a “sanitary” fashion, deal with their adversaries? Do you suppose Americans overseas, military or civilian, should feel safer?

Ron Richardson


Letter: Where are the details?

The adoption of home rule is often a positive step for municipal and county governments. However, it is essential that voters know the details of the proposed charter before casting their votes. The provisions of the charter dictate whether home rule is actually a positive or a negative political format for future governance of the town. In order to cast an informed vote, citizens need to know the nuts and bolts of the proposed charter. Saying the charter will enable to town to “take control of its destiny” doesn’t really tell us much.

The draft charter is at least a 30-page document. A bulleted summary detailing how the new charter differs from the current statutory form of government would be helpful. Transparency, honesty and openness help inform the voters.

In the Vail Daily article of Jan.  16, a charter commission spokesman reports that home rule will not create a bureaucracy or new taxes; nor will it raise existing taxes, eliminate requirements for citizens to approve tax increases. OK. So exactly what does the charter do? The citizens need to know the specific details.

Some of the details that I would like to see addressed include: Will it become more difficult for citizens to seek a referendum or a public vote on Town Council decisions? What about the initiative process? What procedures will development proposals or zone changes be required to go through? Does it eliminate any public meetings or transfer decisions to commissions or groups not elected by the popular vote of the residents? What are the economic impacts (such as payment for Town Council or Planning Commission members)?

How about some comments from other local home rule towns about how that concept is working for them? The time is right for the charter commission and the newspaper to drop the generalities and offer some details.

Bill Heicher


Letter: The same usual arguments against war

The Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, in her latest opinion column, makes her usual arguments and arrives at her usual destination — it’s time to surrender to somebody/somewhere and “Orange Man Bad.” 

Her current iteration argues against war and uses Gen. Sherman’s statement that “war is hell” to support that position. I’d like to add to her thoughts with a statement attributed to Winston Churchill — something to the effect that while war is bad, losing a war is even worse.

A great rabbi once said that there will always be war or rumor of war.  Reverend, what does Day Two look like, the day after you’ve surrendered? And, if surrender isn’t what you’re advocating, then how does your column work to support the wretched few who have chosen to fight, to wage war on people who would enslave you, me, our gay friends, our families?

Those of us who choose combat (I’m one of them) in defense of America and her way of life wage a just war; rubble over trouble, if you will. We abide by the rules and we accept the burdens of combat (death, dismemberment, guilt). A just war is a necessary evil; it’s justice and mercy, in that order.

Kenton Krohlow

Letter: Threat of Berlaimont road still looms

As we greet the New Year and a new decade, let’s not forget that the proposal for a damaging, paved, year-round access road across more than 4 miles of our public lands and critical deer and elk winter range is still under review at the Forest Service — requiring the agency to amend its 2002 Forest Plan if approved.

While the Berlaimont proponent claims that “eventually, deer and elk will figure out where they are safe,” and that the project “will create a good, safe environment for wildlife,” the reality is that increased human development and habitat disturbance in our valley is having a jarringly detrimental impact on local wildlife populations.

And, despite the hopeful prediction by Mr. Carnes in his Dec. 30 column that the Berlaimont Estates access road proposal will go nowhere, there’s still a strong possibility that the Forest Service will approve it.

I’ve heard that the Forest Service could issue its decision on Berlaimont’s proposed road before spring, making it all the more important for the community to continue making its voice heard. Community opposition to this project has not gone away — it’s only resolved and intensified. I still have hope that we can influence the decision — hope that has been regularly bolstered over the past year by the outpouring of advocacy I’ve both witnessed and been a part of. From the rally of more than 200 opponents last March, the seven-week community-led ad campaign over the summer, to the hundreds of comments of opposition submitted to the Forest Service and the dozens and dozens of letters to the editor, we’ve made it clear that this proposal is unacceptable. 

And let’s not forget early last year, the Vail Daily reported that more than 2,000 petition signatures opposing Berlaimont had been delivered to the Forest Service. Now, having collected hundreds of more signatures at local fairs this past summer, we’re just 86 signatures away from reaching 4,000! If you have not yet signed the petition, or voiced your concerns to the Forest Service Supervisor with an email, I urge you to do so today at https://wildernessworkshop.org/buck-berlaimont/. More details about the Berlaimont road proposal can also be found there. And if you have a “Our local wildlife is Priceless” or “Buck Berlaimont” t-shirt, put it on and encourage others to sign the petition, too!

Let’s remind the Forest Service that we’re resoundingly opposed to this road that would fragment and degrade critical wildlife habitat and diminish public access to our public lands. Let’s start this new decade by pushing our public land managers to protect the resources that make our area so wonderful, and do a better job of preserving habitat that local wildlife rely upon. Let’s work together to turn around the decades of herd declines by making more thoughtful decisions, including respecting seasonal closures when we recreate and recognizing our individual impacts on wildlife. We cannot keep making the same decisions and expecting a different result. The 20/20 vision for this year — put conservation and wildlife first in 2020! Say no to the Berlaimont access road!

Tim R. Wolf


Letter: Just look at the eyes

Terrific article about Faythe and Alex Eichler and their livestock successes, all the way to National Western Stock Show. These young ladies work their tails off and deserve every belt buckle or trophy they have earned. Congratulations, Eichler family!

I have a request: Could you please reprint their pictures on page A2 side by side? I was struck by how identical Faith and Alex’s game faces are. This would be a public service — if anyone wants to know what a champion looks like, just look at their eyes.

Bennett Pollack 

Flagstaff, Arizona

Letter: Don’t compare Soleimani to bin Laden

In response to Joe McHugh’s letter, “The attack on General Soleimani,” in the Jan. 14 Vail Daily, it is an apple and orange comparison. Qasem Soleimani was an official representative (Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) of the government of an independent and sovereign nation. Osama bin Laden was an independent global terrorist not attached in an official capacity to any recognized nation or government.

While both are truly reprehensible figures, to authorize a pre-emptive governmental assassination based on what has turned out to be mere conjecture and on foreign soil is essentially an illegal act, whether or not it was deserved. We were and are not in a state of war with Iran. It also, if condoned, allows for the very same unilateral actions to be taken against any United States government military official or otherwise for similar reasons, and we all know that these very same U.S. officials are in constant planning stages regarding military action against our perceived enemies. This sets a precedent that if escalated by any equal retribution, we would no longer be in a position to reasonably protest. If and when that does happen, I anticipate the massive right-wing hypocrisy to once again rear its ugly head. 

Barry Levinson


Letter: Won’t someone think of the sheep?

On Jan. 9, the front page of the Vail Daily had an article about keeping the (bighorn) sheep safe. Apparently, the Colorado Department of Transportation is getting our sheep hooked on what the kids are calling MgCl2. I mean, come on! Don’t the sheep have enough problems with the proposed workforce housing, wildfires, tourists, and unvaccinated lambs that spread disease?! 

The Vail Town Council had a bunch of different ideas to kick the sheep off their addiction from salt licks to wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men. But one thing they didn’t list — stop de-icing! Do we really need our roads to be dry all the time? I say, stop plowing and see who really wants to go skiing, or go to work or the hospital.

Mike Spaid


Letter: Couldn’t have said it any better

I would like to applaud Paul Kahler for his letter in the January 11 paper. I could not have said it any better. I have been meaning to write about Richard Carnes and his bitter, biased columns. I am so disgusted with his writing that I no longer read it. Well done, Paul, I am with you 100%.

Patrick Eaton


Letter: The attack on General Soleimani

In response to Paul Kahler’s letter about Richard Carnes’ columns in the Jan. 11 edition of the Vail Daily: Amen. My sentiments precisely! It’s interesting that the progressive left and their vocal supporters in the media claim that the administration’s attack on Iranian General Soleimani was illegal, treasonous, etc. while overlooking President Obama’s attack and killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan without the notification of Congress or the Pakistani government.

Joe McHugh


Letter: Not just pretty faces

Our bighorn sheep are not stupid. Besides laying claim to their traditional winter feeding grounds at least three to four days a week since the October snows, and more if you look higher up, they have learned when it’s safe to lick the mag chloride. About 10 days ago they were trying to build up their courage to venture onto the East Vail frontage road when the town of Vail’s Code Enforcement truck pulled up.

As soon as he stopped, half the sheep bounded down the embankment and onto the road knowing they were now protected from speeding cars! I would venture that it is a lot safer and healthier for the sheep, as well as our vehicles, to place mineral licks up on the hillside rather than the bewildering suggestion to spray more corrosive mag chloride next to the road! When winter is over you remove the licks, just as you would stop spraying your roadside chemicals for them. No difference in prolonging their activity there.

Rol Hamelin