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Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Daily staff

Ultimate thanksHeading down from opening day on Beaver Creek, the day before Thanksgiving, seems like the perfect time to thank everyone who played a part in supporting the Battle Mountain Huskies Soccer team this fall. We are proud to represent this incredible place.Many people played a part in our success this fall and deserve our thanks. The administration has been fantastic in its support of kids in all activities and deserve to be recognized by name. Rich Houghton is our tireless AD whose job responsibilities were compounded by the success of all the teams. Good football means more fans and more work for the AD. Cross country success means hosting home meets and 6 a.m. shoveling assignments. Volleyball’s run to states means a couple of extra weekends hosting events and another trip to Denver. Soccer upsets in the playoffs mean more late-night trips to the Front Range on school nights. Thanks for all of it. Assistant Principal Q was at most home games, varsity and JV. He also made the trek to Glenwood to ensure that calmer heads prevailed on our rematch and to bask in the glow of another league title with the kids. Geoff Grimmer, our new dean, came out most Saturday mornings, along with Tim Bettenhausen, to pass on a love of the game to their own sons and then to stick around and cheer on the Huskies. Saturday mornings also featured Joel Rabinowitz of the VRD helping us organize micro and pass on the game to a new generation. Of course, the many micro kids who came out every Saturday in sun, snow, wind and hail inspire us and keep us humble. It’s hard to get to big-headed when you are on your knees tying somebody else’s shoes two hours before your own game. One of the things that makes us most proud at Battle Mountain is the support of all the families of past players and the alumni themselves, however far flung they are, keeping track of the program via vaildaily.com and the ubiquitous cell phones. Seeing the Coles, Phillips, Reynolds, Weilands, Jacobs, Drumms, Hochtls, Mitchells, Hernandezes, Gonzaleses, Moores and so many other families at the games is indicative of the tight community we live in. Hearing from alumni across the globe the morning after big games is so gratifying, thanks Mike C. and Brady! Having an alumnus speak at the banquet was also inspirational to our players. We are proud of you, Jose. Keep it up.My colleagues at Battle Mountain include a couple of great assistant coaches. Kyle Mercer and Jeff Hayslip bring passion and high expectations to the job. They have played an integral part in our success for three seasons now. Along with them, each of our players have many fine teachers who keep them on task, inspire them and guide them in the classroom. The college success of our players over the years is a testament to their families and their teachers. Thanks also to my colleagues for helping me do this mentor gig when my life is sometimes a little scattered! Parish, Bryan, Pat, Phil, Dave N., Jason, Penny, Tim, you are a great team to work with. Thanks also to the legendary Patrick Phelan. Get well soon. The referees make the game possible and we thank all of you for devoting time to youth sports in general and high school specifically. Caitlin, Pedro, Jose, Buzz, Eric, Helen and all the rest of the refs in this area are great and the games would not go on without you. Thanks to Cindy Eskwith for recruiting and training most of these refs as well. Local media are amazing. Kids who grow up here think it is normal to score a goal and read a headline about it the next day or hear about it on the radio. Your support of high school athletics is inspiring and insightful. Chris and Ian, your writing exalts our players’ successes, cushions their defeats and keeps in perspective that they are kids, first and foremost. Chris’ support is especially valued this season in light of the recent passing of his father and his frequent trips home. You are a part of the Husky Nation, ye olde unbiased reporter. Randy filling in during your absence allowed one old coach to enjoy talking to another old coach and former rival. Steve, Tony and the guys at KZYR have been great supporters of all of our programs at Battle Mountain and we appreciate the air time to plug our programs. You reflect the values of this community. Randy Maddex and his crew at the Eagle-Vail Metro District keep our field in fine condition, giving us one of the finest playing surfaces in the state, despite us practicing on it all season and playing games. When the weather fails us and we need an emergency change of venue, Jim Sanders and the WECMRD folks have graciously allowed us onto the turf in Edwards. Thanks to the commissioners also for building such a fine facility for our community. Sharon Franco has helped us organize our soccer boosters and been a supporter of these kids through thick and thin. Thanks to all the families who hosted team dinners, that is where the bonding occurs. Mary Claire Van Dyke and the other folks on the Super Boosters at Battle Mountain have been just what their name implies, super boosters of all Husky activities. Aaron and Jade drive the limo and transport us all over the state. Aaron is like having another assistant coach the way he looks after the players and picks them up. Jade drives my kids to school each day at Meadow Mountain and transports the Huskies all over the place – precious cargo indeed!It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to raise a soccer player. We are only as good as our feeder systems and we recognize the contributions of all of the people who have created such fine young men to represent our school. Parents, you should be proud of your sons. Youth coaches, administrators and board members at the VRD, Vail Valley Soccer Club and the Youth Foundation’s Academic Soccer Club have all instilled a love of the game in these kids that allows them to pursue success at the high school level.No coach could function without a supportive family behind them, and mine are the best. Emily and Casey know the names of all the players and share in their ups and downs. Kathleen keeps us all organized and provides the love and support that keeps our family together. I could not do this without you. I love you and am looking forward to a few days at home with no practices, games or trips to meetings. My letters tend to run long so I’ll leave it at that – apologies if I left anyone out. Thanks most of all to the players. You make this so rewarding and you are forever a part of the Husky Nation! Seniors, keep in touch. You made your mark and you won’t be forgotten, “All Day, No Doubt.” Have fun on the hill, good luck in your other sports and club seasons and see you out on the fields in February for what looks to be an exciting girls’ season. In the words of Tom Waits, “You can’t hold back spring …” David CopeReliving a nightmareRecently I have been reading Daniel Ellsberg’s book “Secrets.” Ellsberg was the defense analyst who exposed the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War, which said that this war was not winnable. He began work for an assistant secretary of defense in August 1964 at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, when North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked U.S. Navy destroyers in international waters. In his book, he tells how the destroyer patrols off the North Vietnamese coast, code named DeSoto patrols, were designed to provoke an attack, and how raids and attacks by “CIA assets” were being made along the coast. On the day of the first attack, the destroyer Maddox had sailed within the 12-mile limit only to retreat to international waters when the torpedo boats came out. Two nights later the Maddox, along with a second destroyer, believed they were being attacked again and began firing at “targets” seen on radar screens. Ellsberg at the Pentagon was reading the dispatches the destroyer commander was sending within a half-hour of transmission. Air support was called for from U.S. carriers. But when the planes arrived, they saw nothing. The destroyers were firing at an empty ocean. About an hour after the “battle” ceased, the destroyer commander sent a dispatch that the “many reported contacts … appear doubtful,” and blamed the reports on “freak weather effects on radar and overeager” radar and sonar operators. He suggested a “complete evaluation before any further action” was taken. Other reports put the whole incident in doubt, but Ellsberg describes how these reports were ignored by the architects of the Vietnam War who had sent the destroyers there in the first place.President Johnson ordered retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam, and Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution giving Johnson the power to send U.S. ground forces to Vietnam. It was not until two weeks after that Johnson learned that the destroyers were firing at radar ghosts. But it was too late, and 58,000 Americans died.Ellsberg writes how several years later, after we had committed hundreds of thousands of troops into the Vietnam War, he was flying back to the U.S. from Vietnam after a fact-finding tour with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, one of the architects of the war. McNamara and Ellsberg were reading over reports and intelligence estimates that told them the situation in Vietnam, despite the U.S. troops, McNamara ad mitted, was getting worse. Yet when McNamara got off the plane in Washington and spoke to the press, he painted a rosy picture of the war and that victory was in sight!Ellsberg courageously helped expose the truth of what was happening within our secret government and the deception and lies used to sell the Vietnam War to the American public. In the past years we have seen the secret government using the same formula of deceiving and lying to us about the Iraq War and the War on Terror. Truth is the first casualty of war.We know that before 9/11 the Bush administration ignored the threat of Al Qaeda and the intelligence we were receiving on them, while the Pentagon was preparing plans to invade Afghanistan. The FBI and CIA failed to follow up on leads they received, at times being thwarted by their own superiors. The 9/11 Commission Report stated that 15 of the 19 hijackers could have been arrested if these leads were followed. We now know that within several weeks after 9/11, the architects of this war – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz – were already focusing on Iraq. Their beliefs that Saddam was feverishly building WMD and had links to Al Qaeda were simply ghost targets used to deceive the American public. They have lied to us about their true goals and who is really behind Al Qaeda. We see the same deception being used to exaggerate the threat from Iran. How many intelligence reports on Iraq that told of the Vietnam-type quagmire we would be getting into there are being hidden away? Will it take another brave government insider like Daniel Ellsberg to reveal the truth? Hopefully, one will come forward.Recently I have read about our so-called leaders calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq and reinstituting the military draft. Perhaps next week they will be saying there is a light at the end of the tunnel and how we have to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and the terrorists. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to relive it.” We are reliving history, and it’s another nightmare.Bob FiskeVailVail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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