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    Letters to the Editors

    In Kissinger, Bush gives the fox henhouse duty


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published December 6, 2002

    In his Well, hello Henry. Welcome back (Dec 3.), columnist William Safire endorses Henry Kissinger's nomination as "chief 9/11 inquisitor," explaining that "Bush chose Kissinger because the old operator can see through the secret obfuscations he mastered long ago."

    By such incredible logic is this wiliest of foxes anointed as guardian of the henhouse, and there is to be no talk of leopards and the changing of spots.
    -- Ben Tutoli, St. Petersburg

    A pattern rooted in the past

    Henry Kissinger: The name does not exactly inspire a feeling of trust. President Bush has already brought back into government a smelly batch of Iran-Contra figures -- John Poindexter, Elliot Abrams, Otto Reich. His only economic plan seems to be a return to budget-busting "voodoo economics." Environmental policy is back in the hands of polluters. And now Kissinger!

    Would it be unfair to suggest that there is an emerging pattern here -- one that has more to do with a sordid, secretive past than with a promising future?
    -- Robert C. Shore, Dunedin

    Americans deserve a better choice

    Re Inspector Kissinger, editorial, Dec. 3.

    It's a sad day indeed when President Bush, who was originally opposed to an independent Sept. 11 investigation, appointed Henry Kissinger as its inspector. It would seem the president could have done a lot better than to choose a person whose integrity is questionable. Just recently he chose another questionable character in Adm. John Poindexter.

    The American people deserve more in times when millions may die -- for what? For a religious crusade to win over the Christian coalition? For the oil in the Middle East? For public approval to win elections? For a military-industrial complex to increase its profits? A war economy to save our free market? These are all questions that must be investigated in the name of truth -- for those who will die will not die in vain.

    These are subjects many do not like to hear. Such is the price of seeking truth -- it's normally despised. Yet the truth is what is needed, especially since the "whole" world is armed with weapons of mass destruction.

    The sins today preventing us from seeking truth are greed and the greatest sin of all -- ignorance!
    -- Daniel J. Roque, Tampa

    Kissinger will bring back the facts

    Re Inspector Kissinger.

    Contrary to your Dec. 3 editorial, which all but accused Henry Kissinger of being a buffoon, I happen to agree with William Safire, whose column appears on the opposite page (Well, hello, Henry. Welcome back). Safire seems to see Kissinger as a well-respected conservative leader who made some very sound but sometimes unpopular decisions. Kissinger is still one of our most well-versed diplomats who is not afraid to speak his mind and usually can give a sensible explanation of exactly why he might, or might not, favor certain legislation.

    He is a no-spin type of guy whom you can trust to investigate the 9/11 money trail and use sound judgment and bring back the facts. What may be done with these facts is a different story.
    -- Guy Nash, St. Petersburg

    A heavy price to pay

    President Bush is prodding Sadaam Hussein to the brink of war, even while we have a group of men in the country that would make ideal hostages. When President Bush decides to end the feint, thrust and parry of his present course of action, and he orders a war he has been spoiling for, the calculated losses of our own troops will be a heavy price to pay. And pay we will in lives lost, as well as an untold amount of dollars to monitor the surviving Iraqis.

    It's another Korea in the offing -- our unwanted responsibility 50 years after the end of that sorry war.
    -- Art Moore, Pinellas Park

    A condemnable omission

    Re: Condemning the oppressors, letter, Dec. 3.

    This recent letter was a response to a previous writer who lamented that not enough Muslims were condemning terrorism.

    The Dec. 3 letter writer, "as a Muslim, as an Arab and as an American," then obliges. He condemns those who "benefited from the attacks on the World Trade Center," as well as the Russian government, Saddam Hussein and the "daily terror perpetrated against Palestinians."

    He then condemns those "who would use him (Hussein) as an excuse to attack and kill thousands of innocent people for their own gain." F-16s and Apache helicopters are also found condemnable, as are the "detention and imprisonment of the innocent."

    What is missing, however, is a condemnable omission. Nowhere does the letter writer condemn those who specifically, intentionally and horrifically target civilians, including children. Especially homicidal suicide bombers. How did such evil, egregious acts not make his short list?

    Also noteworthy was the context of his condemnations: "as a Muslim, as an Arab and as an American." In that order.
    -- Joe O'Neill, Tampa

    Protecting the few, ignoring the many

    Re: U.S. will repay insurers for terror, Nov. 27.

    I suppose in some sectors, especially the insurance industry, the recent bill regarding terrorism insurance coverage is being praised. I find it interesting to note, however, that while the government can earmark tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to insure buildings owned by a relative few, it seems oblivious to the fact that some 43-million Americans go without health insurance coverage of any kind. This number grows even larger as working families deal with shrinking health coverages and reduced quality care options as employers cut benefits in an effort to maintain profitability. While the government protects the needs of the few, it ignores the needs of the many.

    Given a situation that involves the well being of so many citizens, it is amazing that a true national health care program is not even an agenda item with the current administration or in the halls of Congress. While some senior citizens are receiving slight supports on prescription drugs, working families, independent business people and the growing number of unemployed face the very real prospect of financial ruin from massive medical costs due to serious illness or accident.

    Private health insurance is no longer the answer. The cost of private health coverage has risen to the point where it is now an unaffordable luxury for many families and completely unattainable for those with less than perfect health as insurance companies no longer assume much risk. Judging from the lack of action on this matter, it appears that our elected officials don't seem to care.

    Virtually every civilized country in the world has some kind of national health care program for its citizens. Why not the United States? Perhaps since our elected officials have one of the finest benefits packages in the country thanks to the generosity of the American people, they don't feel that this is a major problem. It isn't for them. It is for 43-million others.

    It's time to do the right thing. If the government can put aside tax dollars to insure buildings from terrorists, how about a few bucks to insure the physical, mental and financial health of America's taxpayers?
    -- Terry Ward, St. Petersburg

    Know the truth about Judge Cope

    Re: Your editorial Cope's bully tactics, Nov. 23.

    How is it possible Judge Charles Cope was acquitted of all criminal charges against him filed by the JQC, after the accusing witness admitted filing false police reports and committing perjury, and such acquittal constitutes merely "giving him a break?" Do you have any facts to support your claim that the sworn members of the panel and presiding judges all violated their sworn oaths and took a dive?

    How is it possible that the identical criminal charges were all dismissed in California and Judge Cope is still considered guilty?

    How is it possible for the female prosecutor who dismissed those charges to claim she believed the "victim" when the "victim" herself admitted she made false reports to the police and lied under oath?

    How is it possible that the depositions taken by Judge Cope's attorney are a bad thing when they are provided for under the law and were the reason the false accusations were exposed?

    How is it possible that you regurgitate John Mills' allegations without printing the documented facts that conclusively refute his allegations?

    How is it possible that you accuse Judge Cope of abuse "for more than a year" and portray Mills as a long suffering victim of that abuse, when the facts establish that Mills admitted in March of this year that the criminal charges couldn't be proven, that Mills apologized to Judge Cope for doubting his veracity, and that Mills insisted on prosecuting Judge Cope on those very same charges in a hearing in which Mills remarkably told the panel it didn't matter whether the accuser was telling the truth or not?

    I'll tell you how. It's possible -- indeed inevitable -- that you would resort to such an intemperate, unfounded and vicious assault on Judge Cope because you have an abiding interest in concealing the truth. You have an abiding interest in insulating your early rush to judgment and libel of Judge Cope from accountability. You have an abiding interest in protecting and jealously safeguarding the power of your editorial page to smear judges you don't like for philosophical reasons and to influence the JQC to serve your ulterior interests.

    You have now made a naked unvarnished pitch to the Supreme Court to knuckle under to your public pressure and to repudiate the considered and thoughtful conclusions of the hearing panel which were conclusively documented in the record you continue to suppress in this case.

    Fortunately, the Supreme Court will scrutinize the record you continue to conceal. The Supreme Court will know beyond a doubt that Judge Cope was innocent of the criminal charges brought against him by the JQC without investigation. The Supreme Court will know beyond a doubt that those charges were prosecuted even after extensive discovery disclosed the falsity of those charges.

    You label Judge Cope a bully. A bully is someone who by sheer strength overpowers the defenseless. A newspaper that ignores and suppresses facts to bludgeon a good man's reputation is a bully. An editorial writer who suppresses known facts to cause the gullible reader to swallow monstrous lies is also a bully. All bullies view truth as their enemy because in the final analysis, all bullies ultimately succumb to truth. While your readers will never read the truth on the pages of your newspaper concerning the prosecution and vindication of Judge Cope, they know that truth does not fly on the wings of bombast, invective and verbal hysteria. Those are the trappings of lies; and your editorial was appropriately decked out for the occasion.
    -- Robert W. Merkle, attorney for Charles Cope, Clearwater

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