Letters to the editor
Allyn Harvey’s July 13 article, “Prominent critics bring attacks on Bush to mountains,” would benefit from a healthy infusion of facts. The 1,205-word Aspen Times version of the article titled “Bush vitriol flows” was more than twice as verbose and contained hearsay and rumors of overheard dinner party conversations. Why is it that persons of note such as Richard Clarke and Ambassador Joe Wilson are permitted to freely spew misinformation without objection? In the “information age” there is no excuse for newspapers to not verify and substantiate such claims before blindly printing them. Richard Clarke’s claims against the Bush administration have been debunked in a collaborative report by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman and Republican Sen. John McCain:Lieberman: “No basis for Clarke’s accusation,” March 22, http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/3/22/14702.shtml: “Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who, along with Sen. John McCain, pushed for the creation of an independent commission to investigate the 9/11 attacks last year, said Sunday that he saw no basis for ex-terrorism czar Richard Clarke’s allegations that the Bush administration had bungled the war on terror.”The former Democratic presidential candidate suggested that Clarke’s allegations were driven by election-year politics, prompting him to warn, ‘There is a higher interest than our partisan interest in victory and that is the national interest in victory over terrorism.'”The Vail Daily article states, “At one point Clarke accused President Bush of ‘dividing the country when we need unity.'” Others would suggest it is the lunatic fringe who are dividing the country. Many are, after all, in their ignorance of the facts still decrying the so-called “theft” of the 2000 election. They continue to chant their mantra that “Bush lied,'”completely ignoring the facts that both parties of both the House and Senate voted to go to war in Iraq, as did the governments of multiple countries. Some also ignore that the British government has never retracted its assertion that Iraqi representatives were in fact seeking uranium in the African nation of Niger. The list goes on. The article also states that “(Clarke) expressed alarm over the case of Jose Padilla, the American citizen who was jailed without charges or access to the U.S. court system after being declared an ‘enemy combatant’ by the Defense Department.” Again it would be useful to have all the facts: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2037444.stm: “Jose Padilla (also known as Abdullah al-Muhajir) had a number of run-ins with the authorities before achieving fame – or infamy – as a ‘dirty bomb’ suspect. He was arrested after a road-rage shooting incident in Florida in 1991 and spent a year in a Florida jail. He completed his probation for aggravated assault and firing a weapon in August 1993. Prior to that, Mr. Padilla, a U.S. citizen of Puerto Rican origin, had a number of gang-related encounters with police in Chicago.”The article goes on to discuss Wilson’s comments; “This government’s betrayal was not in the use of force resolution, but in the use of force when it was not necessary.” In the previous sentence Wilson stated that, he, like many others, supported Congress’ decision to give the president authority to use force against Iraq, if necessary, because it resulted in action by the United Nations: ‘U.N. Resolution 1441 was worth it.'”Wilson contradicts himself. Either “U.N. Resolution 1441 was worth it,” or it wasn’t. The real force responsible for “dividing this country” is political duplicity such as that exhibited by Wilson.Wilson was, and still is, completely wrong about Hans Blix’s weapons inspections report. The Senate intelligence committee report on pre-war Iraq intelligence concluded: “Wilson provided misleading information to the Washington Post last June.”Bush did the right thing in going to war in Iraq, 20-20 hindsight notwithstanding. All the liberal whining, conspiracy theories, Monday morning quarterbacking, and feature-length political propaganda advertisements cannot change the facts. U.S. House and Senate committees received the same information as Bush, and Congress voted almost unanimously in favor of going to war with Iraq. So, for those who continue to chant their misguided mantra that “Bush lied,” they must also believe Congress lied, the CIA lied, British intelligence lied, the British government lied, and the U.N. Security Council lied. But we’re all supposed to believe Michael Moore is telling the truth, right? Sorry, but some of us are not so gullible.Speaking of Britain, three previous inquiries have already cleared the British government of acting dishonestly or misusing the intelligence made available to it to bolster the case for toppling Saddam Hussein. It must also be noted that British Intelligence has still not retracted its contention that Saddam was trying to purchase enriched uranium from Africa.Most U.S. intelligence was corroborated by British intelligence, and both were corroborated by U.N. Security Council intelligence. That Saddam had stockpiles of WMD was never in doubt. Why would the U.N. continue to send weapons inspection teams into Iraq if they believed none existed? Both Clarke and Wilson ignore all of this.For those with failing memories, go back and take a look at the report Hans Blix delivered to the U.N. Security Council. On the question of Iraq’s stocks of anthrax, Blix reported “no convincing evidence” that they were ever destroyed. But there was “strong evidence” that Iraq produced more anthrax than it had admitted “and that at least some of this was retained.” In his January 2003 report, Blix also reported that Iraq possessed 650 kilograms of bacterial growth media, enough “to produce … 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax … thousands of possible chemical munitions still unaccounted for … 6,500 chemical bombs that Iraq admitted producing but whose whereabouts were unknown. Blix’s team calculated the amount of chemical agent in those bombs at 1,000 tons. As Blix reported to the Security Council, “in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for.” The Washington Port reported, “Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance … the disarmament which was demanded.”That same month, in an article titled “The Damning of Saddam,” the British news agency Telegraph reported, “Hans Blix, the chief United Nations weapons inspector, stated unequivocally last night that Saddam Hussein had failed to disarm, greatly strengthening the American and British case for war.”Read for yourself: Hans Blix’s Report to the U.N. (January 2003) at http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/Bx27.htm. People must acknowledge that proof of Iraq’s disarmament was NOT the job of the U.S., UK, U.N., Blair or Bush. The burden of proof of Iraq’s disarmament was on Saddam Hussein. He failed. Everyone needs to do some honest research and stop blindly propagating misinformation.Buddy ShipleyEdwards Lots of helpThe Skating Club of Vail recently held the 23rd annual Vail Invitational Figure Skating Championships at Dobson Arena. Four hundred competitors and their families enjoyed the incredible experience of summer in Vail. The Skating Club extends its sincere gratitude to those who contributed to the success of the event, including, but not limited to: Colorado Mountain Express, Beaver Creek Resorts, Vail Resorts, Highline Sports and Entertainment, the Vail Marriott, Park Meadows Lodge, Montauk Seafood Grill, Subway, Scoops, the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau, judges, accountants, volunteers, and last but not least, Irv, Ken, Jared and the rest of the staff at Dobson!Skating Club of VailBig bucksHi, this is just a word about the big flag issue. From my point of view, the only thing wrong with it is that (developer Magnus Lindholm) spent $200,000 on it. Yes, just in the flagpole. I think that there are more important issues to take care and invest on it than a $200,000 big flag display – even charity!Gerardo ValdezVail
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After a sudden stop in March and extended isolation, people may be ready to travel or play. But don’t expect a full-throttle return this summer.