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U.S. withdrawal is too simplistic for Iraq

Letters to the Editor
Published February 25, 2007


White House delivers surge in lies, hypocrisy Feb. 18, Bill Maxwell column 

I could perhaps believe Bill Maxwell's views if I thought he was singularly concerned with savings lives.

There is no doubt that a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq would save American lives in the short term. However, I think withdrawal is way too simplistic a response to a very serious problem that will likely lead to further destabilization in the Middle East, increase the stature of the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and consequently increase the likelihood of attacks on Americans in other areas of the world.

With that in mind, I believe Maxwell's column is nothing more than a pretext to criticize President Bush. His hypocrisy and underlying motives are evident in his column when he seeks to bolster his moral appeal with despicable charges suggesting President Bush hasn't supplied the troops with everything they need. President Bush has not deprived our solider of anything that has been in his power to provide. To suggest otherwise is clear evidence of bias and partisan politics, especially when used in conjunction with a moral appeal to saving lives.

Bob Lowe, Clearwater

 

All too senseless 

White House delivers surge in lies, hypocrisy Feb. 18, Bill Maxwell column

In due respect to Bill Maxwell, his column last Sunday is an opinion not based on sound information. He reveals this halfway through when he says, "But back to reality" and he never gets back to reality.

The president's "lies," evidently, are on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which were based on information from the intelligence bureaucracy at the time. If the information was in error, it is the fault of the bureaucracy not the president. In fact, things worked out so well for those who oppose the president it couldn't have been done any better than if there was a conspiracy by the bureaucracy and the opposition party. After all, most of the members of Congress voted to support the president, but they are never accused of lying.

In regard to equipment for the troops, the United States never seemed to equip the troops with up-to-date equipment. The U.S. Marines went in to action in 1942 with 1903 type rifles. Humvees are transportation vehicles, not tanks. Perhaps we should have mothballed a few thousand Sherman tanks from World War I for use now. Why have an Army if on the deaths of a few, we admit defeat and surrender?

In summary, I don't think the whole thing makes any sense. Perhaps we should flood Iraq with thousands and thousands of troops or admit defeat and walk away.

Charles E. Mac Neill, Crystal River

 

Job security is a myth 

Norma Rae, why's it so hard? Feb. 18, Robyn Blumner column

Robyn Blumner says unionism is the best way for workers to get a fair shake. She says union workers get higher pay and more benefits, and, best of all, job security.

I wonder if this could be the reason for most of the good jobs leaving the country. If so, the idea of job security is only a myth, likewise for the costly benefits.

Blumner makes the point that union workers can't be easily fired. The point that she misses is human nature. When a worker can't be fired, he loses his incentive to be a conscientious worker and, in too many cases, he becomes a slacker.

Has Blumner noticed all the job layoffs in the automobile industry?

Does Blumner understand that when union labor gets great gains, union-made products have to be more expensive and the standard of living for the nonunion citizens has to deteriorate?

She would probably say all workers should be unionized. In that case the only ones to gain would be the union bosses. This would also guarantee low productivity and higher prices for everyone.

Charles Derer, Hudson

 

Teachers not valued 

Don't turn educators into mere workers Feb. 18, letter

Bill Emener was the best of all my teachers and professors - and there were many over the course of 20-something years of schooling. Dr. Emener is my ideal of the perfect educator.

But he's wrong on two points: Teachers aren't the system, students are. Students don't require teachers to learn. Much of what we learn in life is the result of a solitary and lonely effort. Being an eminent researcher, Bill Emener knows, or ought to know, that there are darned few guides at the cutting edge of discovery. Most of the educators I suffered were chalky pedagogues no one respected, much less admired. The worst of them all was also associated with Dr. Emener's department at USF.

Second, regardless of what they call themselves, an educator's work is to produce results, not make excuses for failure, or be obsessed about caste. The nasty little secret Bill Emener didn't mention is that teachers have always been at the bottom of the professional hierarchy. They make less money and have less prestige because they, generally speaking, aren't valued by the society they serve. They are minor public servants in the general scheme of things. And it was union affiliation that made them worker bees. This is the reality.

James B. Johnson, Port Richey

 

Degrading language 

Don't turn educators into mere workers Feb. 18, letter

I completely agree with professor William Emener's contention in his letter that educators have been demeaned in recent years by being considered producers and staff rather than educators.

I further believe that this movement began many years ago when personnel departments in enterprises of all stripes were changed to departments of human resources. The name change took the "person" out of personnel, implying that humans were merely resources to be treated on a par with energy and materials.

F. Russell Abrams, Port Richey

 

Refocus schooling 

Try Europe's system Feb. 18, letter

I agree with the letter writer. I remember my parents, who came over from Holland, saying they were out of school at age 14 and then were apprentices at their jobs. I personally think school time is too long; the students get bored and maybe in trouble.

We can learn from the Europeans - in many ways.

Betty Schaefer, Dunedin

 

Honors and challenges 

Reward for a call to teach Feb. 14, story

Three of our children are teachers and two are married to teachers, so my wife and I can be forgiven for celebrating with Sheryl Brock and her colleagues her selection as Pinellas County's top teacher. There is no more honorable, no more worthwhile profession than teaching.

But rewarding? Among our five are two who left teaching for reasons that must be apparent to anyone who picks up the morning paper. The reality, indeed the tragedy, of our times is that the penalties too often outweigh the rewards of a call to teach.

Hooray for Sheryl Brock, whose achievements now include replacing Anna Nicole Smith or a school shooting on Page 1B of the Valentine's Day paper.

Joseph H. Francis, St. Petersburg

 

'Flat daddy' redux 

Dad goes to war, stand-in stays Feb. 19, story

The "flat daddy" picture is certainly not new. We did that during World War II. I, too, had an enlarged picture (head and shoulders) of "Daddy" pasted on the side of the piano.

We had been married eight years, and my first pregnancy was two months before my husband went to Africa. Our son was 3 years old before they met each other. What a reunion.

Beverly J. Wiltshire, South Pasadena

 

Excellent section 

Latitudes Feb. 18

Congratulations on the best issue yet of "Latitudes."

I especially enjoyed the large illustrations which accompanied John Fleming's excellent introduction to the "Lord of the Rings Symphony" to be performed by the Florida Orchestra.

The well-illustrated article on the "American Master" at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota was also outstanding.

Richard Vanni, Seminole