Letters to the Editor

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Friday, May 7, 2004

'Windbags' too often repeat gas-price myth

For weeks, the news media, especially TV stations, have been in a lather over "soaring" gas prices at "record" levels. But according to the Lundberg Survey: "Adjusted for inflation, gasoline is not at its peak. In today's dollars, the price of gasoline in 1981 was about a nickel short of $3 per gallon."

Gas would have to increase about 50 percent from current prices to equal the all-time high in inflation-adjusted dollars.

I hate to deflate the local windbags, but if you want news, go to the Internet. (And to the Star-Bulletin, of course.)

George Mason

Hostages in Iraq are paying the price

As a new father, I felt sad when I heard on April 17 that soldier Keith M. Maupin of Batavia, Ohio, was being held hostage in Iraq. (He is still missing.) War hawks may profess things like, "That is exactly what the enemy wants you to feel" or "Freedom has a price."

I hope things work out in Iraq despite my doubts, and I support our troops there. But they never should have been called on to invade and occupy Iraq in the first place. Iraq had no connection to 9/11; it was no threat to us. We defied the U.N. to show that Saddam should not be allowed to defy the U.N.

Our mission there has been redefined, and we have brought war to a country in the name of freedom. This war had no just cause and good people like Maupin are paying the price.

Daniel Laraway

Bush-Saudi closeness is disturbing

I don't want the election stacked in President Bush's favor by the Saudis' manipulation of gasoline prices. Just what is the truth about the relationship between Bush and the Saudis? I still want to know why Saudis were allowed to fly out of the United States right after 9/11.

Isn't it also more important for Secretary of State Colin Powell to be better informed about U.S. plans in Iraq than Saudi Prince Bandar? This is incredible! Why were supposedly "secret" war plans revealed to any Saudi at all?

I don't know about you, but I'm not voting for this person come November.

Jeanene Farrell

Geneva rules protect American soldiers, too

Our nation, and all it stands for, has been degraded by the abuse of prisoners in Iraq. The prisoners have suffered, but the humiliation extends to all U.S. soldiers in Iraq, who have been betrayed; to the Americans at home who are disgusted and dishonored, and to our allies who trusted us.

The important thing now is to learn from this tragedy so it will not be repeated. I believe the root cause lies in our government's determined effort to escape the boundaries set by the Geneva Conventions, which clearly spell out the rules of interrogation and who they apply to. But because this administration doesn't want to play by those rules, it has repeatedly tried to justify ways of redefining them so that our prisoners are "not entitled" to the protection afforded by the rules of war that used to provide a clear moral standard for the military. Undermining these rules has left our soldiers confused.

Now we can be sure that our enemies will feel free to treat our soldiers just as we have treated the prisoners we are holding.

Carolyn "Shammy" Dingus

Imposing democracy just doesn't work

Former President Bill Clinton's secretary of defense, William Cohen, a Republican, said that President Bush is losing the war against Iraq and that the United States should get out of Iraq now.

The British tried to introduce democracy in Iraq 80 years ago. They couldn't do it. One cannot use diplomacy or negotiate to introduce democracy in Iraq.

I urge President Bush to withdraw from Iraq now.

Rose Norberg

Enough with liberals' coverage of abuse

Let's get off the brutality issue. The brutality scenes were despicable and unpardonable, but it appears disciplinary actions have been or are being taken against those involved. Further exposure by the liberal press and those who want our efforts in the Middle East to fail does not contribute to the outstanding American effort to fight terrorism.

Further news infuriates many Americans, including soldiers who do not condone brutalizing prisoners. These acts were apparently committed by undisciplined soldiers commanded by officers who did not effectively lead, teach and observe their subordinates performing their duties.

Ironically, observation of the photos of the Iraqi prisoners fails to show any bodily injuries; however, that does not mean that some form of brutality was not committed. The uproar by the liberal press in its continued exposure of the undisciplined behavior of the prison guards only aids the enemies of the United States. Where was the uproar during Saddam Hussein's reign of terror of torture and mass killing of his own people?

Some say these American soldiers guarding the prisoners were under great pressure, which may be true; however, it cannot compare to the pressures faced daily by the Special Forces soldiers and others in direct combat. Let's not make excuses, it boils down to lack of discipline.

Howard S. Okada

Rights of the religious should not go too far

Phillip C. Smith's sugar-coated bigotry caught my eye ("We also must preserve rights of religious," Letters, April 27).

Seeking to add (perceived or real) sexual orientation to the list of classifications of people with whom a landlord cannot discriminate is a logical step in the march of civil rights, despite the ever-present religious dogma that has been unsuccessfully used against racial minorities and women.

Smith fails to mention that a landlord has always enjoyed the right to advertise narrowly for tenants, in this instance in religious periodicals or on church bulletin boards.

He also fails to mention that the religious exemption would allow landlords to kick out existing tenants for a conveniently trumped-up reason since no litmus test as to sexual orientation is in the present bill.

Housing is a basic right and everyone deserves to feel secure in their homes.

Martin Rice
Kapaa, Kauai

Education reforms leave parents out

Senate education chairman Norman Sakamoto believes that the Hawaiian community should have a more direct say in education (Letters, April 25), but he led his committee in opposition to allowing Hawaiians and others to vote on local governance of their public schools. To add insult to injury, he then cautions Hawaiians and others to basically ignore whatever comes out in the news media and to only listen to "educators and students" on how to fix the public schools. In other words, hear no evil, see no evil.

Where are the parents in his solution? Should parents allow government officials to tell them how to educate their children? Should parents allow their children to decide on what kind of education he or she feels like having and how to spend their parents' money? The Democrats "education reform" bill does just that.

Parents must assume their rightful role as the leaders of their children's education and oust those who use children as collateral for political ambitions.

Laura Brown

Misplaced griping killed Keolu project

We can thank the few vocal opponents of the Keolu Drive re-striping project for putting a stop to progress, but I hope the city continues the work for the benefit of the many bicyclists and pedestrians who use this loop. Of course the partially completed re-striping is confusing -- the job is only half done!

If opponents would get out of their cars and ride their bikes, or try crossing this four-lane street on foot, they might have a different perspective. It's common for speeding motorists to narrowly edge past bicyclists or not stop for pedestrians. Keolu Drive doesn't need to be a four-lane thoroughfare; that only encourages speeding. As for Kailua resident John McCarthy's sweeping observations (Kokua Line, March 28) that "everyone" is driving over the raised medians, I've never seen that happen. One would have to be drunk or inattentive to do that. The raised medians provide safe pedestrian crossings.

It's sad that our neighborhood has become so dependent on cars that when a project like this comes along, it's met with such resistance.

A.K. Carroll


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