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Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Daily staff

Hardly democracy Recent events in Arab Gaza are evidence that the democratically elected Palestinian Arab government is continuing to pursue the “Arafat terrorist” agenda and must be stopped. Last year in a misguided move, the Israeli government last year evacuated all Jews from the Gaza Strip. The hope that an enlightened Palestinian Arab government would arise to work for the betterment of their people has not been fulfilled.As reported in the June 30 edition of Ha’Aretz: “The (Israeli) Foreign Ministry released a statement Thursday saying the recent security-related events, particularly the Qassam rocket fire and the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, were realizations of the Palestinian government’s policies of terror. The acceptance of responsibility for the kidnapping and the Hamas-led government’s demand to exchange prisoners prove that Hamas’ primary objective is not concern for the Palestinian people but determination to implement its policies of terror,” the statement said.The support by the Palestinian Arabs for the continuing terror acts against the Israeli civilian population, including the murder of an innocent 18-year-old Israeli boy, are evidence that they are not looking for peaceful coexistence with Israel.The Israeli stance that, in the words of a government spokesman: “There will be no negotiations with a gang of terrorists and criminals who abducted a soldier from Israeli territory,” must be supported. The recent Israeli arrests of terrorist members of the Palestinian Arab Authority are, in the words of an Israeli Army spokeswomen: “not bargaining chips for the return of the soldier. It was simply an operation against a terrorist organization. They will be investigated, brought before a judge to extend their detention and charge sheets will be prepared.”This is democracy. The launching of rockets against civilians in the city of Sederot is not democracy. The murder of women and children by suicide murderers in not democracy.The Palestinian Arabs have elected a terrorist authority and the fallacy of their ever living in peace with their neighbor, Israel, must be put to an end. The Palestinian Arabs who elected a terrorist government and support the murder of innocents deserve no aid, no government, no state and no sympathy from the rest of the world!Arthur KittayEagleWhere’s our voice?On June 21, I attended the Roadless Area Task Force Meeting. I so wish more coverage was given to it. We were represented in Eagle County by a county commissioner. The highlight of his statement was the amount of money Vail brought in and our life style. This is fine, but in comparison to Summit County who presented the task force with a three-ring binder full of specific recommendations which they compiled after holding public meetings, it seemed limited in its impact. Their meetings were held in areas deliniated by geographic and use criteria. Citizens, Forest Service, leaseholders anyone affected was invited. From their input the recommendations were made. Were any specific recommendations made by Eagle County? Also a mayors’ coalition from the Roaring Fork, who have been meeting monthly, presented a position statement to the task force. Eagle County mayors, if present did not make themselves known.After hiking a roadless area with other Vailites, we wrote letters to the task force on the impact we could see for this particular area. President Roosevelt so long ago realized these protected areas as national treasures. It is becoming more apparent, including global warming, why they are. I think a careful evaluation of those in the area is the only way a task force can make intelligent, far-seeing decisions. We still have time to get specific recommendaitons to the task force, which I wholeheartedly support. Let us take the chance we have been given to be heard. Brenda LeeEdwardsIssue with columnI wrote the attached as a column for the Trail, thought better of it, got a second opinion and, as a result, decided to submit it to you as a letter to the editor.In the same issue with the commentary by Matt Zalaznick and Alex Miller, under your headline, “Quick Takes,” you wrote a short piece called, “A matter of respect.”I have to commend you. This piece was well written, succinct and compassionate. You, in very few words, described my feelings concerning the tragedies you recounted and my opinion on how and where they should be presented. Hopefully, most of those in our community will have similar feelings. Congratulations on a job well done in a difficult and sensitive area. As an aside, give that Butch Mazzuca guy a pat on the back. His article on GITMO was great. Like your piece, it was concise. It was also complete, sort of a Reader’s Digest history of an unusual military installation. …I finished reading the Zalaznick-Miller opus, “Serving America, sans guns,” in the June 23 Daily. The gentlemen say, “That’s not to say a word against the men and women who join the military and serve with (or even without) distinction.” This is related to the opening paragraph where they give us the surprising information that not everyone is a hero who puts on a uniform or who dies in that uniform in Iraq or Afghanistan. … What I do know is that such comments are totally inappropriate, seemingly condescending and only vaguely connected to the case they attempt to make against any military action.They imply “our collective national lead” is all for military action to resolve today’s problems in the world. The fact of the matter is the truth is somewhere between complete pacifism and all-out aggression. How do you deal with organizations such as Hamas in Palestine and the Iranian government, both of which openly seek the destruction of Israel? Suicide bombers kill innocent people in Jerusalem, and Israeli forces shoot back. I think they call it self defense. I don’t see how such military action can be avoided. …There are peaceful ways to the present problems and they should be taken. Try explaining this to a Muslim extremist anywhere in the Mideast, including Afghanistan and Iraq.Miller and Zalaznick really get into it with “Americans in uniform have committed atrocities.” The My Lai massacre, Abu Ghraib and Haditha are mentioned as “despicable proof.” Pfc. Lynndie England and two other bottom feeders are given as examples. Let’s look at Ms. England. It would seem that she is not Phi Beta Kappa material. Exacerbating her situation was a proclivity for making bad judgments. Being photographed performing an obscene and degrading act while on duty and becoming pregnant while deployed in a war zone should be ample proof of this. She didn’t assign herself to Abu Ghraib prison, and she obviously lacked adequate supervision. The connection has to be not only did she victimize detainees, but she, herself, was a victim. I think you’ll find others in the same boat.I would suggest that you move your bile and invective to the opposite end of the feeding chain and hit on the guys in charge who caused these genuises whom you rail to be put in a situation where they could commit the atrocities they committed. There is little doubt that members of our armed forces have committed crimes and should be held accountable. We should, though, have some compassion and some understanding as to why they acted the way they did.Imagine yourself deployed to a foreign country, the culture of which you don’t understand and of which you have limited knowledge. When you signed up for ROTC in college, this is not what you had in mind. Then your best new friend takes a round between the eyes and is gone. Shock, remorse, anger descend on you and you fire away at the first human being you see not in the same uniform as yours and you’ve killed an innocent civilian. Poor judgment? I’d have to say yes. There’s more to it than that, but the point is that what you did was understandable.I have great admiration for Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Carter and my daughter, Jane, who recently returned from Angole, Africa, where she had been assigned by Medicine Sans Frontiere. They and others are great Americans and great humanitarians. The title of your article would indicate that you were going to write about people like this and the good they have done and I wish you had. I would have enjoyed that.However, your “we are a warlike tribe, we Americans, make no mistake” comment would seem to better, as a title, describe your writings. You are right on about how the present administration has spent billions of tax dollars on a senseless war and a variety of other ways. This only is vaguely related to your main theme.I am against the situation in Iraq and think our forces should be removed right now, but I support our troops wholeheartedly. You seem to be against both. Just a wild guess, but were I a betting man, I’d wager the farm that Zalaznick and Miller were never in uniform. Had they had the experience, I’m sure they would see things differently.God bless you both. I do hope you become less judgmental and more understanding in the future and that you don’t deal in such meanness as your closing, “…send your own children into pointless battle, then.” One last thing: Why did it take so much manpower to write one short article?John HannonVail, Colorado


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