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    Letters to the Editors

    Graham relies on simplistic reasoning


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published October 27, 2002

    Re: Graham's opposition to the resolution to wage war, Oct. 20.

    Reading Bob Graham's rationalization for his opposition to the recent Senate resolution for war in Iraq makes me wonder how an experienced senator could use such simplistic reasoning.

    His alternate approach boils down to spending time on low-risk, low-probability-of-success activities rather than war. More mediation of Israel-Palestine, mediate India-Pakastan, chase al-Qaida operatives and snipers, he suggests. Be nice. Don't make them angry. Wow!

    I would imagine if Graham had an ant infestation in his house, he would run around stepping on individual ants. If he suspects there is more than one nest he does not try to wipe them out, one nest at a time. Maybe he tries to talk them into leaving.
    -- James W. Benefiel, Dunedin

    Aim at terrorists

    Re: Graham's opposition to the resolution to wage war.

    I agree with Sen. Bob Graham that terrorists are a greater threat to us than Saddam Hussein. Hussein is not crazy enough to attack us or Israel or even to pass weapons on to terrorists unless we sufficiently provoke him.

    Our primary focus should be on preventing terrorism. Second should be stabilizing Afghanistan, since it is now in such a precarious situation economically and politically. We should not leave the new government in the lurch.

    The CIA and the Government Accounting Office have predicted that Hussein would release chemical and possibly biological weapons if he feels he has nothing to lose. Many servicemen and women were exposed to low levels of sarin gas in 1991 when U.S. troops blew up hundreds of Iraqi rockets. More than 100,000 Gulf War veterans are disabled and thousands have died. The GAO reports that "serious problems still persist" with protection from exposure to chemical and biological weapons. We should not again expose servicemen and women to such weapons.

    I thank Bob Graham and the others who had the courage to vote against the resolution to hand over congressional war-declaring authority to the president. However, since the resolution passed, I hope the United Nations and the dissent at home and abroad will prevent a war in Iraq.
    -- Shirley M. Peterson, Sun City Center

    Welcome leadership

    Re: Graham's opposition to the resolution to wage war.

    Sen. Bob Graham's daring to vote against war with Iraq and explaining his reasons very clearly confirms my impression that he is the most intelligent and thoughtful person Florida has in Washington. We are fortunate for his leadership and we need to speak up.

    There is no logic to the administration's need to introduce more war and bloodshed at a time when we citizens should be saying "enough already." Thank you, Bob Graham, for giving voice to a lot of silent constituents back home.
    -- Doris Hanson, Clearwater

    It's about the oil

    Re: Many American companies eager to cash in on Iraq, by Susan Taylor Martin, Oct. 20.

    It appears that a war with Iraq has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein at all. It has to do with oil! Too bad that most Americans do not realize this.

    As stated in this article: "Now, with another war looming in the Persian Gulf, a far bigger financial bonanza awaits: Iraq itself."

    "The Bush political dynasty was fueled by Texas oil money. Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, the giant oil services company, and even after entering public office got a $1.45-million bonus and $205,000 in deferred salary and compensation."

    "National security adviser Condoleezza Rice served nine years on the board of Chevron, collecting 3,000 shares of stock and a total of $250,000 in annual retainer fees. She even had an oil tanker named after her."

    "After the Gulf War, Americans hoping to do business with Kuwait included the U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Neil and Marvin Bush. . . . Baker went to Kuwait as a consultant to Enron, the now-disgraced energy giant that was seeking contracts to rebuild damaged Kuwaiti power plants."

    And we thought the war with Iraq was about Saddam Hussein. It is a war about greed! I hope the American people will wake up and voice their arguments against sending our young people to fight a war that only will profit the oil companies of America.
    -- Margaret Hyde, Clearwater

    Wall's lesson

    On Oct. 20, I visited the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, on display in New Port Richey. There were the names of thousands of service people who died for a cause that almost tore this country apart.

    Now we are being told that we have another such cause, this time in Iraq. Have we learned nothing from history? Will Americans be visiting another wall in 20 or 30 years?

    We must hope that our country's leaders will think long and hard before sacrificing any of their fellow Americans.
    -- Lois T. Klein, New Port Richey

    Endangered freedoms

    Re: Doesn't anyone notice the erosion of our freedoms?, Oct. 20.

    Kudos to Robyn Blumner for a fine account of what's happening in this country. The noose has been tightening since the end of World War II. As she rightly noted, the "lumpen proletariat" (my characterization) have been too occupied with getting theirs, to notice what's going on -- like the frog that gets boiled as the water slowly heats. We've been too comfortable for too long, and failed to perceive the danger to freedoms we once enjoyed. I just wanted Blumner to know I've been noticing for a long time and to thank her for trying to get people's attention. I believe we're beyond the point of no return.
    -- Paul Rekstad, Brooksville

    Placing blame elsewhere

    Re: Voters should hold them accountable, by Martin Dyckman, Oct. 20.

    I agree someone should be held responsible for the 2000 presidential election, but I vehemently disagree with Martin Dyckman's choices and the people he disparages. I'm holding the members of the rogue Florida Supreme Court responsible. When I vote this year, I will make sure I mark "no" when I'm asked if any judges should remain in office. This is one way to purge this liberal biased court.

    We are going to have "civil rights attorneys" from the Federal Justice Department to monitor voting in some of the Florida's counties this year. I hope they monitor Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to avoid the propaganda of the Democrats that voters were disenfranchised.
    -- Phyllis Shaw, Inverness

    Enough election whining

    Re: Voters should hold them accountable.

    Martin Dyckman is still whining about George W. Bush winning the presidential election in Florida. He feels the Republicans stole the election. I see it differently.

    Al Gore lost the first vote count and several recount votes. Gore actually tried to steal the election, in my opinion as well as the U.S. Supreme Court's.

    Dyckman says that Gore should have won because "... Al Gore had more popular votes nationwide and more electoral votes among the other 49 states." This is not even relevant because one is not elected by nationwide popular vote. Under our rules, each state votes and the winner gets all the state's electoral votes. So it's really 50 elections -- each separate. I wish people would quit whining about the nationwide popular vote.

    In "counting all votes," why did Gore try to stop the military votes from being counted? Many of our service personnel could not go to a post office to get a postmark. The Democrats tried to change the rules after the election was over.

    George W. Bush is our president (thank God).
    -- Victor Rich, Safety Harbor

    A dedicated doctor

    Re: The improbable return, Oct. 20.

    What a wonderful, beautiful article about a very dedicated doctor who cares, loves and devotes her life to infants at All Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

    I just finished reading this article about Dr. Stacey Levitt, and I am astounded that there is such a caring, loving person. I would like to join the thousands of your readers and, of course, parents to salute such a member of the medical profession. In our present world of horrible happenings full of mayhem, murders and terrible crimes, Dr. Levitt stands out as an example of fortitude, grit and determination, and she indeed has met her goal. At age 32, she has really shown our world there is goodness, loyalty and great examples in this special type of work in medicine.

    I would also like to praise Lane DeGregory, your staff writer, for presenting your readers an opportunity to know there is such great love in the NICU, and also Bill Serne's for his great photographs of Dr. Levitt helping children to "make it" and live fruitful lives. She deserves loads of blessings!
    -- Don Paulie, Port Richey

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