Letters to the Editor

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Katrina response calls for independent probe

I agree with the editorial of Sept 12 wherein it states, "Meaningful retrospect (for the government's stumbling response to Hurricane Katrina) needs to be placed in the hands of an independent commission."

The federal response to Hurricane Katrina is a national scandal, and Congress should support New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's legislation calling for an independent commission modeled after the 9/11 commission to determine what went wrong at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies.

The Republican leaders are trying to set up an investigation they would control. I ask, "Is it logical that the political party under scrutiny should control the investigation of their own bureaucratic structure?"

Dhira DiBiase

Spend money on Gulf Coast, not Iraq

We need to reassess and change our national security policy now that we are confronted with the Gulf Coast catastrophe. The immediate priority in federal funding should be to get the Gulf Coast back to normal, however long it takes. Give the Army Corps of Engineers all the funding necessary to rebuild the levee walls, and this time, ensure that those walls can withstand Category 5 hurricanes. The emergency is at home, not in Bagdad.

Toshio Chinen
Pearl City

Don't forget welfare of the very rich

Though Hurricane Katrina has distracted us with sentimental concern for the suffering evacuees, the nation can't afford to allow this unfortunate catastrophe to divert our attention from our really suffering citizens, our 400 billionaires. President Bush has not forgotten the deserving rich. Their welfare is top priority in his compassionately conservative agenda. Accordingly, he wants to abolish the estate tax.

Congress may soon debate estate-tax abolition. Estate taxes affect only 1.2 percent of U.S. estates, but this small minority, some 30,000 in 2003, constitutes the most important members of U.S. society. The wealthiest heirs will, of course, never have to work. But some in the less wealthy categories, inheriting only $5 million or so, might conceivably be forced into the job market. Bush is working hard to avert this social calamity.

The superrich, after all, are indispensable to the nation. They don't fight wars like Vietnam and Iraq, but Ann Coulter's college conservatives form a great cheering section for the war in Iraq.

Let's all get behind abolition of the estate tax. It will only cost the U.S. Treasury $280 billion from 2011 to 2015. That piddling sum can easily be covered by a surtax on middle-class Americans. They'll be glad to sacrifice for the deserving rich.

C.W. Griffin

Case is wrong -- we should leave Iraq

After being briefed by U.S. military authorities in Iraq, Rep. Ed Case announced, "I came away with the belief we must push through this time in Iraq" (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 7). He added that he supports the maintenance of 140,000 American soldiers in Iraq for an indefinite period.

This is quite simply a prescription for turning what is already a disaster into something even worse. As the rate of daily insurgent attacks stays at high levels and young people from around the Arab world pour into Iraq to fight what they see as the U.S. aggressor, it is clear that the war is not winnable. No matter how many troops and how much firepower the U.S. keeps there.

This war was really lost back in 2003 when the lack of Bush administration planning for the postwar period left millions of Iraqis hungry, jobless and without electricity for months. The war was lost by the abusers at Abu Ghraib prison. The war was lost when U.S. policymakers alienated the Sunni population.

To continue in Iraq indefinitely as Case suggests will result in more of our soldiers being killed and mutilated and the waste of billions of dollars, which we need to be investing in the health and education of our people. Our security will be damaged. Patsy Mink would have understood this and spoken out vigorously against this war. Her successor, Ed Case, believes whatever the Pentagon cares to tell him.

Noel Jacob Kent
Ethnic studies department
University of Hawaii-Manoa

Why support a war based on lies?

I read the Sept. 9 editorial regarding Rep. Ed Case's support for a strong U.S. military presence in Iraq. I voted for Case, but as time goes by, I realize that I made a mistake. In the face of the many lies told to us by the White House as to why we invaded Iraq and the American soldiers who die each day in Iraq without any end in sight, how can Case continue to support this war? As a Vietnam veteran, I fear that too many more Americans and Iraqis must die before the inevitable end of this debacle.

There are many members of Congress, such as Reps. John Conyers and Neil Abercrombie, who have taken actions to bring our troops home. Why does Case continue to blindly support this war and not question the wisdom of this misguided policy?

Peter Dinmore

Lightless bicycle riders endanger others

I ride a bicycle to work every day. Returning home at night, I have numerous blinking lights and reflectors on several areas of my bicycle. You'd have to be blind to not see me riding. I can't emphasize enough how many people are riding bicycles at night without lights. Aren't lights at night required by law? What really irritates me is that these riders are even wearing dark clothing, so they're practically invisible. And if a car hits them, it's the driver of the car who gets sued, not the bicycle rider.

Why isn't this regulation of lights being enforced? Instead, the police are downtown handing out tickets to jaywalkers during the day. Come on, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that riding a bicycle at night with no lights is much more hazardous than jaywalking across a crowded block of people during the light of day!

The officials determining what's important and what's not when it comes to pedestrian safety need to open their eyes and take a look at reality. Riding a bicycle at night without lights makes the rider almost invisible and thus a hazard to pedestrians, motor vehicles, other bicycle riders and the offenders themselves. It's time to end the city's passiveness toward the blatant foolishness of these riders!

Scott Watanabe

Keep Kakaako for locals, not the rich

In the early 1970s, the hotel industry coveted the Diamond Head end of Ala Moana Park. Liberal Democrats thwarted that design. So today we have local folk frolicking on Magic Island instead of wealthy hotel guests.

Now the Kakaako development authority wants to turn portions Ewa of Ala Moana Park into houses -- affordable only to millionaires who don't even live here.

We need another Magic Island for the people, not a playground for the rich.

Charles E. Frankel

Hawaii should have done more for 9/11

Many U.S. states commemorated the events of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack with poignant tributes to our fallen. Where was our city's memorial?

The World Trade Center attack was one of the most significant events to affect the people of our country and our country's fire, police and emergency medical services. We lost many of our American brothers and sisters. Seems like our city administration forgot our own local heroes, friends and families.

Mayor Hannemann and Governor Lingle, don't forget to show your support for the public servants who risk their lives every day in service to the community, by taking the time to honor their fallen brothers and sisters every year.

Michelle Kendall

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