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Today's Letters: Strong military is not needed in perfect world

Published September 30, 2007


Recruiting students away from the military Sept. 26, story

I'm sorry that Dwight Lawton had such an unfulfilling or otherwise unsatisfactory tour of duty in the military during the Korean War. Perhaps that explains his reason for being a member of Veterans for Peace.

In a perfect world where sanity, morality, understanding and peace were foremost in the minds of all the world's leaders, then I might also join his group and encourage young men and women to seek careers other than in the military. Unfortunately, people like Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are not of the aforementioned mind-set. And to think that any or all of these men are, or were, willing to negotiate and allow all people not of their respective religions or political beliefs to live in peace and harmony is akin to burying one's head in the sand.

Fortunately our armed forces have grown strong despite the politically disastrous Vietnam War and Bill Clinton's attempt to decimate the military during his tenure. And they were there ready to respond after the cowardly attacks of 9/11. They will accomplish their assigned missions if well-meaning, but naive, politicians in America seeking to look at the world through rose-colored glasses allow them to do so.

I proudly volunteered to serve in the Marines in 1967 and was awarded the Purple Heart in 1968. And I am equally proud to voice my support of all of our men and women serving today. Hopefully their ranks will swell despite attempts by Lawton and Linda Hubner. Because if they and others like them do succeed in convincing young people not to serve in the military, no hastily resuscitated draft will save this country from those who wish to do us harm.

Eric L. McShane, St. Petersburg

"We're fighting the wrong war in the wrong place" Sept. 19, story by Waveney Ann Moore

A war founded on lies

Middle East expert Milton Viorst's comments that to achieve peace in Iraq, the Sunnis and Shiites must bury ancient hatreds and achieve reconciliation are veracious. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, like Iraq, requires a nonaggression solution to vanquish hate once and for all. It's the duty of diplomacy to get the Sunnis and Shiites to end their bloody conflicts and instead promote togetherness, a "we" consciousness, rather than a "them and us." This change would result in a new, national unification in Iraq.

Warped perspectives must become passe, and true diplomacy must control national policy. To eliminate ethnic barriers in Iraq is to expel antagonism and strife. People must see that to die for political pointlessness is futile.

President Bush throughout has been a gramophone with just one tune: The American invasion of Iraq was justified even though we know now that it was illegal and immoral and was founded on lies and deception.

Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

Shell Key revisions

Innovate on Shell Key

I am a Pinellas County resident, property owner and voter. I am also a recreational user of the Shell Key Preserve. As someone who has visited the preserve more than 300 times, it saddens me at how negatively environmentalists portray Shell Key.

For the past seven years, their efforts have led to 350 signs being placed on the island, the spending of tens of thousands of dollars to kill 700 adult trees, and they don't have a clue as to how to improve bird nesting other than to close the preserve to people. Their "sky is falling" drone is old. If they truly care about Shell Key Preserve, they need to partner with recreational users, employ active management and be willing to go beyond traditional thinking.

I urge county commissioners to look at the facts and take the time to get input and participation from ALL interested parties (not just the environmentalists). I urge county commissioners to not approve the proposed plan revisions on Oct. 2.

Bill Knepper, St. Pete Beach

Guidelines for Shell Key Sept. 19, letter

Time to get 'draconian'

I am sure the letter writer put a lot of thought into his proposed guidelines, and they are appreciated by those involved in the issues surrounding Shell Key. But it is apparent he doesn't know much about litter.

He suggests that people confine their drinking to their boats, and hence, their refuse will remain in the boat. I doubt that would happen. People don't leave their trash in their cars but toss it onto the street or my yard. He suggests that visitors must use a trash receptacle. Oh really? Visit Fort De Soto Park after a holiday and see how many people used the trash receptacles. And the Parks Department provides many for the public to use.

I have never visited Shell Key, but I agree with those who want the "draconian measures." This is what happens when people won't police themselves.

Glenda Pittman, St. Petersburg

Oodles of poodles Sept. 19, photo

Vinoy Park, unleashed

How nice, unless you are someone else using the park. We see in this photo seven dogs, one leash. In that park there are numerous signs asking that you comply with city law and have your dog on a leash and "scoop up" afterward. Oh, and not far away is a multimillion-dollar dog park where your dog can be off a leash.

Unleashed dogs in Vinoy Park chase people, defecate where they please and intrude on lots of people. Consideration for others in the parks is rarer than it should be. I love dogs, but your picture and caption are too similar to much of this paper's mindless bliss.

Tony Witlin, St. Petersburg

Make frugality a friend

Many who lived in less frenzied, less prosperous and less wasteful eras can recall this wisdom: Use it up, wear it out, make it do - or do without.

To today's society, these are harsh words, but frugality won't hurt us. Costs are higher on just about everything, including transportation, utilities, taxes, goods, services, insurance and food. The future is clouded, but the path is clear: Work longer, save more, consume less.

Elvina L. Bergmann, St. Pete Beach


We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675or through our Web site at: They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

[Last modified September 30, 2007, 01:31:46]

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