Today's Letters: Why bother with elections if voters' voices are ignored?

Published May 18, 2007

The carnage continues in Iraq as President Bush and his generals plead for yet more time to allow their latest battle plans to achieve what they call "victory." One wonders just what the definition of "victory" is in the president's mind. Does the president think we have been "victorious" in Afghanistan?

The generals insist that a pull-out from Iraq would have disastrous results. They said the same thing in Vietnam.

How long has it been since President Bush issued his foolish "bring 'em on" and "mission accomplished" statements? The blood of brave American men and women continues to seep into the desolate sands of the Iraqi desert.

The problems in Iraq cannot be solved by American military might. The truculent and intransigent stance adopted by President Bush has done irreparable harm to the American nation.

The people of Iraq want us out. The majority of Americans voting in the last American election cycle spoke in a loud and clear voice as to how they feel about this debacle in Iraq. President Bush insists that he will not be swayed by polls or election results.

Ask yourself: Just why do we have elections? If the wish of the majority is cast aside, then the election is moot and the nation is harmed.

Don't let the president chide you about being "unpatriotic" because you may want our nation out of this quagmire.

Bill Hoelzle, Dunedin


Vietnam revisited 

Unkept promises May 13, letter

The letter writer speaks of our "unkept promise" to Vietnam when we left. The truth is that Vietnam is undergoing great economic prosperity and enjoying a healthy tourism industry. The Vietnamese people refer to the war with the United States as the "American War." They further state that they beat the Americans in the "American War."

We had no business in Vietnam and we have no business in Iraq. Our soldiers and the Iraqi people are dying to make American businessmen even richer than they are.

Isabel Stawicki, Beverly Hills


English should be a prerequisite 

Are 'Press One for English' lyrics offensive? Judge for yourself May 15, story 

I am approaching 85 years of age. I served in the U.S. military for 31 years. During World War II, my youngest brother and I served in the European theater while two other brothers served in the Pacific.

Our parents were immigrants. They spoke English only in our home, because they wanted to be "real Americans."

In answer to your query, I see nothing offensive in the lyrics of the song, Press One for English. Furthermore, I cannot fully express how irksome it is to be asked that question every time I seek some mundane service.

Learning English should be a mandatory prerequisite to citizenship. And I honestly believe we do a disservice to those applicants seeking citizenship by not requiring it. Not knowing the language of the land they choose to live in is a deterrent to assimilation, and an encouragement to the development of conclaves such as Little Havana in Miami. In addition, allowing testing and the filling of applications for civil and job requirements in their native tongue, as well as providing dual-language schooling, further hampers, rather than helps, their adjustment into their newly chosen life.

Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole


To be an American, speak like one

If I wanted to live in another country, I'd feel much better learning that country's language. If you enjoy being treated like an American, then act and speak like one. How can you obey our laws if you can't understand them?

We destroy many more trees to put Spanish on our products, paperwork, etc. Americans help pay for you and your kids. I'd think that's giving plenty. So give back: Learn to communicate and we'll all be better for it! Banding together and wanting your own way is not a very endearing way to be heard. God forbid if we Americans broke laws in Mexico.

Red, white and blue, black and white, all others - either blend in and pay your own way or go home.

Linda Kirkwood, Spring Hill


Hostility is reserved for Hispanic people

In 1607, a band of 104 Englishmen landed in Jamestown, Virginia, and told the natives not to worry, that they were just passing through. They lied, of course, and they never bothered to learn any of the native languages.

Well, 400 years later - and except for the Hispanic immigrants - their descendants and other immigrants have grown to over 300-million and they all speak the sacred English.

I think the hostility expressed by Anglo-Americans in every medium against immigrants who cannot or will not learn to speak English has a deeper root: It is directed mainly toward Hispanics in general and Mexicans in particular. Every day Anglos see more and more of us and they feel threatened. We are the brown menace.

But if the sight and sound of Hispanics offend you, why not book passage in the next ship or plane leaving for Europe? I'm sure Anglos would be most happy living there among people who look like them, speak like them and share the same heritage. Just think how welcome you will be.

Anglos ask us to go back to where we came from. My friends, we are where we came from. It is you who should go back to the continent you left behind.

For those of you that hate Spanish so much, please look at the new passports - that most American of documents - and you will discover that the State Department has pulled a fast one on you. It is now written in English, French and Spanish. How do you like that?

Humberto Calderon, Tampa


All extremists are not followers of Islam 

Known by their acts and Wayward are labeled May 11, letters

In reference to the two letters responding to an article by Ahmed Bedier of CAIR Tampa, I would like to offer this for consideration: Try walking a mile in your neighbor's shoes.

Being a convert to Islam, I've seen both sides and can attest to the vast divide in equality and fairness. You never hear or read such expressions as "Christian terrorists" or "Christian extremists, " yet they do exist (Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, the Crusades, etc). If you are a Muslim, you are bombarded by these daily accusations and broad discriminatory remarks.

School shootings never happen in madrassas. Terror exists in our country but we put a different label on it. Talk to any witness of a school shooting or other public violence, and they will likely say it was terrifying.

Terrorism is not owned by one group or religion. Let he who is without sin, or extremists, cast the first stone.

Joseph Strohmier, Tampa


No more no-fault

As a Florida resident and having been the holder of not only a Florida 220 insurance license, but licenses for eight other states, I say let no-fault insurance finally die and do not resuscitate it. Or do it completely as a true no-fault state.

Insurance rates are higher because of no-fault. Why? Because our leaders allow 2 out of 5 to drive without any insurance at all. It is always easier to raise rates on the ones who obey the law and play by the rules.

The solution is simple: Anyone who does not have insurance does not drive. Anyone pulled over must have their license scanned and law enforcement would verify proof of insurance at that time. Better yet, allow police to scan license plates while driving and check for coverage. No insurance? Impound the vehicle and place a substantial fine on it.

Craig R. McNees, Tampa


Online improvement

Bravo to the Times for its new online format. It's not to say the old one was bad, it's just that the new one is better. The improvements will take a little getting used to, but the new format allows regular readers to quickly navigate to the content or advertising they are looking for.

Online news is a medium that is still evolving; the new Times format is fresh and fast.

Jim Parker, Tampa


Change isn't good

Maybe I'm just a creature of habit, but I don't like the new tampabay.com format. It's a pain to navigate. The front page isn't laid out like it was before, and, for me, the worst thing missing is the "text only" link, which makes for fast reading and/or browsing the new stories of the day. Change is not always a good thing - hint, hint!

G. Johnson, St. Petersburg