Letters - April 30

More ‘crowing?’

Our government’s high-tech weaponry is getting so good that even if Star Wars won’t really stop the currently non-existent incoming missiles, it will give the government the space based means to bomb my house (or Mike Farmer’s, letter “Stop Crowing, April 16) without touching our neighbors.

It’s very reassuring.

But one of my points is that all through history, all governments have resorted to slaughter (of its own troops and of even civilians on the other side) as a kind of ritual bloodletting to put puctuation on its vengeance and to “earn greater glory.”

Since Vietnam and that era’s hugely effective Peace Movement which changed our society from top to bottom, it is no longer acceptable to lose even a few soldiers without remarking their importance and our regret.

Laser guided rockets were not the improvement which prevents the destruction of whole cities. The cities of Dresden and Tokyo were firebombed to kill as many civilians as possible.

Since there were no military targets even near these population centers, selective destruction would have meant no bombing at all.

Why does this not happen any more? I think we are growing a little more humane; perhaps all the players are aware that the Internet spreads a lot of news our well controlled media downplays, distorts, and ignores. I’m not sure.

I repeat what I’ve said before. No one in the world really thought Saddam was a threat against us (even, I dare to say, Bush himself). The Bushies have targeted him for more than a decade; according to Woodward, Rumsfeld said the night of 9/11 that it might provide the excuse to go after Saddam. (You might even call this one, “The War of Poppy Bush’s Revenge.”)

If these guys were willing to risk the weakening of the UN, the world’s only current chance at a rule of law, for trumped up excuses, then their madness might well have extended to destroying Baghdad or invading Syria right now as “hot pursuit.”

They are posers and actors, not thinkers, and I believe we keep them in some check as they watch the polls so closely and have to battle carefully for public opinion.

Our control over these guys is very limited, to be sure, to matters under public discussion. The Peace Movement failed to publicize what might happen to Iraq’s great museum; so the administration was not on guard to prevent its destruction and the terrible flogging it now must take for protecting the oil records while ignoring our heritage.

The flogging is justified; even the worst villain of the century, perhaps of all time, Hitler, protected the art.

Bob Williams

Hood River

Money to war

Every society, no matter how rich, must divide up its wealth between personal expenditures and social expenditures (taxes). The pie of social expenditures must then be further divided to different social values.

Operation Iraqi Freedom cost $80 billion dollars so far. Splitting its costs among 300 million Americans whose families pay taxes, it means that the 20,000 residents of our county paid over $5 million for that war. If an occupation costs $1 billion a month, Hood River County’s share will be another $66,000 each month.

I note that the school board, in a county where athletics have so substantially contributed to our economy and reputation, is actively considering eliminating six sports in order to save $64,000 a year and balance their budget.

The money for the war has already been spent. The five cruise missiles our county’s contribution could buy have already been delivered. Perhaps the children, parents, and fans who enjoy those six sports will be forced to pay a share of that $5 million in social choice, as will 80 other local public programs with similar non-fundable budgets.

The federal government may come again soon with a plan to solve another problem with military intervention. At that time I hope the debate will include which other social goals we wish to abandon.

David Rath

Hood River

(This letter originally appeared April 23, and is reprinted due to an editing error.)

Electric thanks

The electric car race at Hood River Valley High School April 19 was a huge success due to the immense support from the community, staff, students and administration of HRVHS. I would especially like to thank Joella Dethman, John Brennan, Dave Kaechele, Bob Kadell, Scott McMorran and Mark Brindle. Without these volunteers the race could not have happened.

Jeff Blackman

Hood River

Vet speaks out

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to five U.S. veterans speak to approximately 75 high school juniors at Hood River Valley High School. These men — Bill Bires, Mike Mullane, Rico Vicino, Jerry Gabay and David Duncombe, are part of a group called Veterans for Peace.

While their stories and truths were not often easy to hear, it was certainly enlightening. Some of these men were not much older than their audience when they became part of our nation’s military force. Regardless of which branch they were a part of, all were made to bear witness to atrocities and situations the majority of us will not encounter in our lives. Sharing their stories with an audience who is naturally trying to find direction in life seemed to have an impact.

I applaud the high school for allowing their students exposure to all sides of a controversial issue. This is truly what education is all about: the ability to have access to information in an effort to become informed and able to make clear and thoughtful choices.

Let us hope that none of our own loved ones will someday be relaying stories like those these brave men shared with us.

Leslie Hoover-Lauble

Mt. Hood

Kudos to city

Who says our city fathers don’t step up to the plate?

A great deal of thanks goes to our mayor, Paul Cummings, and the City Council for voting to extend the lease of the Columbia Art Gallery in their present space until Sept. 30. This will allow the gallery to get through their busiest time of the year. Then they can concentrate on finding an interim space before moving into the new Cultural Center along with CAST.

Excitement is mounting for a community cultural center in the downtown core. We know our City Council will take pride in this new center which will improve the quality of life of the region through increasing the visibility of the visual and performing arts. We will be able to provide educational opportunities in many disciplines of the arts in our multi-use space.

Our hats go off to the City Council and mayor.

Judie Hanel

Gorge Cultural Center Project

Hood River

‘His true zest’

If we could count the tears that have been shed by so many of us since April 15, the number would still not compare to the number of lives that our beloved Peter Geist touched in his lifetime. To put into words the depths of our loss is impossible. To describe the joys of knowing him is easy. The enthusiasm on his face and in his voice, his insatiable curiosity, his true zest for life and all it had to offer ... and always, always, that laugh. In life, Peter taught me to listen and to learn. In death, he taught me to appreciate even more those loved ones around me. I treasure all the memories of my time with Peter, and will hear his laughter echoing off the walls of my home as my tears continue to fall. Heaven is a happier place than ever before! Yes!

Deanna DeVore


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