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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Today's Letters: Let taxpayers have a voice on the war
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 13, 2007
Iraq's fate awaits Bush exit May 6, Philip Gailey column
It's evident that the president, right or wrong, has dug in his heels over Iraq. He's shown no flexibility on his core views - ever. The Democrats allow him to have the first and last words on any discussion, and find themselves outmaneuvered time after time.
The Democrats should allow the people to decide this - before the 2008 presidential election. Adopt a pay-as-you go bill, no pork, just a variable tax. This could be an additional gas tax (boo) or a sales tax increase dedicated strictly to the war effort. Maybe savings (war) bonds could also be sold. Our local convenience store could sell them as they now do lottery tickets.
Bush lets us know he's the commander in chief. So be it. He can increase troop levels - the tax goes up. He can proceed with his war as he sees fit. The uprising from the people will be heard in months. Even Republicans will start seeing a way out. The Democrats should not be handcuffed and called defeatist by this administration that has been wrong on so many key decisions. Nonbinding resolutions are not the answer against veto power.
Democrats should take this firm stand and get the "support our troops" magnet warriors to pay now for the war. My feeling is even the fast-diminishing support for the war will totally evaporate when faced with an $8-billion (or more) tax bill that's due now.
Jay Yardley, St. Petersburg
Protecting the troops
The most graphic reason for stopping the war in Iraq is found in last Sunday's Perspective section on Page 6, which compares the The war dead, Vietnam and Iraq. It depicts the escalation in the number of troops killed with the beginning of the escalation of each war. This shows very graphically what will be the result of our further escalation in Iraq.
Surely the troops will be supported better by pulling out now and by Congress refusing to support them with more funds. We are not abandoning them; we are protecting the future generations!
Ruth Boe, Sun City Center
Last Sunday's Perspective was especially good.
Andrew Barnes' personal retelling of the turmoil over the potential sale of the St. Petersburg Times in 1988 brought to mind the relief I felt when the Times was able to remain the wonderful independent newspaper I have enjoyed since moving to Florida in 1980.
Philip Gailey's article on Iraq was "right on target." I felt the decision to invade Iraq was wrong at the time it was made by President Bush and sadly it seems I and many others will be proved right.
My son served in Vietnam and I have five grandsons in the military now; one is returning for his third deployment to Iraq in July. The Page 6 chart on the war dead, comparing Vietnam and Iraq, was ominous. Even 1 percent casualties is too much for a war we should never have waged. I pray we don't see the same escalation in Iraq as in Vietnam.
Barbara Molloy, St. Leo
Is it obvious only to me that proof of the depths of despair we cast the Vietnamese people into when we abandoned them is relegated to a postage-stamp-sized piece in "Elsewhere" on Thursday's Page 10A? It reads, "Vietnam will put three prodemocracy activists on trial today for spreading subversive propaganda, the first of two trials scheduled this week as part of an ongoing crackdown against dissidents."
And we all should know what the result will be. That's the whole article, when "the rest of the story" is millions died as a direct result of us shirking our duty to the Vietnamese.
Just as today in the Middle East we made promises, therefore obligations, so to the South Vietnamese we made promises, yet abandoned that obligation at the behest of the liberal press and leftist politics of Hollywood. We defeated the North at every turn in that war, which you'll never hear or read, yet left them to twist in the wind.
I have to wonder if we'll ever be victorious again. Had our leaders stood shoulder to shoulder at the outset, we likely would have been able to leave Iraq and Afghanistan in 18 months or so and at a much less dear cost, then would've had centuries to debate it, but in modern times, we must pursue the guilty before there's a crime.
So, when the liberal media opines about our loss of respect and reputation around the world, they have but to look in the mirror to find out why.
Wayne Hays, Hudson
Change the course
In a letter I recently wrote to our congressman Gus Bilirakis, just before he was to vote on the appropriations bill that would determine what the House majority decided regarding continuing to finance the Iraq debacle, I asked him to put the country's welfare above party loyalty. He did not.
"Stay the course" is a catchy phrase that President Bush likes to use. He likes to show that he is resolute, not one to be swayed by public opinion. I pointed out that if President Bush were the captain of a ship where he was the final authority as he is in military matters as commander in chief, and his ship was headed for the rocks, he would have to choose between "staying the course" or changing course.
In Iraq, we are headed for the rocks. The overwhelming majority of Americans can see that we need to change course and have expressed that belief. Captain Bush can see the rocks looming ahead but continues to be resolute, "staying the course" - with calamitous results.
A.M. Haas, Safety Harbor
Another kind of faith
Right and wrong is in our genes May 6, Robyn Blumner column
Robyn Blumner quotes the work of evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser to promote her atheistic views. Hauser's research theorizes that all humans share the same essential human instincts for discerning ethical conduct. He attributes this to evolutionary social adaptations for survival that molded our genetics and brains to produce a baseline, of sorts, of hardwired ethical conduct.
The Bible also speaks on what is inherent to all humans in regard to morality and right and wrong. Ironically, Hauser's research supports Romans 2:14-15, which essentially says that even people who have never been exposed to the Christian faith instinctively know right from wrong. Where the Bible differs from Hauser is that it states this is because God made humans that way.
Anyone who reads Blumner regularly knows she has a passion for discrediting those with faith in a living God. What Blumner never expresses is that her beliefs require an even larger dose of faith than the Bible-thumpers whom she loves to ridicule. To dissect living organisms and discover designs of increasing layers of incredible complexity and interdependency all the way to the molecular level and attribute this simply to the unguided forces of "nature" takes a tremendous leap of logic-free faith.
Atheistic evolution is indeed a form of faith whose god is mathematically improbable circumstances, sequences of events and millions of years of equally improbable dumb luck.
Michael Sells, Brandon
Performers in tune
Song's lyrics hit low note at banquet for officers May 10, story
So Ron and Kay Rivoli, a husband/wife entertainment team known as the "Rivoli Revue, " sang a song at Plant City's Law Appreciation Dinner called Press One for English that criticized people for not speaking English in America and it upset some of the attendees? So what?
People who live and/or earn a living in America without knowing, learning or speaking English upset me. If, as I am told, that is their right, then the Rivolis are within their right to sing the song of their choice. And it sounds like they are my kind of people!
America's language is English and those living here should make every effort to speak it! When will the pendulum swing back to the intent of our forefathers?
Leon G. Atkinson, Brooksville
Kudos on books
Recently I have read about newspapers across the country cutting book sections or running reprints of book reviews from wire services or larger papers. As a librarian, I've wanted to let you know how pleased I am with the St. Petersburg Times' new book editor, Colette Bancroft. I look forward to reading her excellent, unpretentious book reviews.
I particularly enjoyed her in-depth commentary on the new Barbara Kingsolver book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. I didn't want it to go unrecognized that Bancroft is very much appreciated as a member of your staff. I hope she is with us for a very long time!