Letters to the editor — Monday (3-3-2014)

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 3, 2014

The Republicans, with Sen. Richard Burr prominently involved, have once again demonstrated where their priorities lie — not with veterans. “Republicans used a procedural move to block the bill (legislation that would have provided for medical, education and job-training for veterans) after Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chided GOP lawmakers about their priorities,” according to MSN-news on Feb. 27.
That’s right; the GOP used a procedural move to sidetrack a bill to help veterans after being miffed by an independent senator from Vermont. GOP senators tried to scale back the veterans’ services and add provisions to increase sanctions on Iran. MSN-news reported that Senator Sanders, in response to the GOP debate, said he had “a hard time understanding how anyone could vote for tax breaks for billionaires, for millionaires, for large corporations and then say we don’t have the resources to protect our veterans.” The GOP senators were unable to get their amendments attached, so they sidetracked the measure rather than vote on it.
Republicans also argued that too many veterans would use new job-training and medical resources. The GOP apparently feels that we should not offer more services because veterans who need them would use them. The GOP also opposed the way the bill would be funded: no new funding, but allocations from already available funds that would not be needed because of the winding down of the Afghan war and withdrawal from Iraq. I am guessing the GOP wants money for some struggling billionaires.
The GOP said it does not fear voter reaction. Senator Burr, top Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said, “We’re sort of fooling ourselves to believe that this drives the election issue list.” The Republicans said that the next election would focus on Obamacare and not these issues. As a veteran, I shall remember.
— Richard D. Sorensen

At the end of WWII, there was approximately one officer to each 12 enlisted personnel. Today, the ratio of officers to enlisted personnel is about one to six. In the Navy, there’s almost one admiral for every ship afloat. The Air Force has more officers to enlisted than any other branch; the Marines have the least. We have gone from a pyramid structure to one of an obelisk. To wit, that leads to the a corporate “golden parachute” system at the Pentagon. To boot, corruption may not be widespread but when found, it’s at sky high dollars. If you were ever in the military, you saw waste and poor managing. If you didn’t, you were stupid or accepted that part of the system.
There will always be another war. In today’s situations, it may be on more than one continent. The draft was stopped due to an unpopular and inconvenient war. Today, we pull over and over from the National Guard and Reserves.
Reinstate the draft for the “next wars,” providing education for our untrained work force and real shovel-ready jobs. As we keep building tanks, should we have some soldiers to run them.
We have been in a debt spiral in this nation since the new Afghan-Iraq wars.
I had the opportunity to talk to a young man whose father was in the Soviet Army (not Russian) when the Soviets were in Afghanistan. He dispelled my notion as to why they were there. They were chasing Muslim radicals from the Black Sea into Afghanistan. We helped chase the Soviets out. Do you really think Russia and China care about our expenditures? Do you think that China and Russia want the burden of radical Muslims on their borders, with perhaps nuclear resources turned toward them? No!
Let the U.S. do it for them and stretch our military and increase our debt reliance, that’s what they want.
— J.H. Stanley

I was reading the AP article about the ACLU joining the rally over Isabelle Allende’s book, “The House of the Spirits.” It refers to her as a Spanish author. She is a Spanish language author. She, having resided in more than one country, could probably accurately be referred to as either an American author or a Chilean author. However, she is not Spanish; her book was simply written in Spanish.
It’s kind of like calling Stephen King or Mark Twain an English author instead of an American author.
— Jacob G. Oakes
Chapel Hill