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War hero's discharge is disgraceful

I was both sad and fearful when I read that a highly decorated Air Force officer, a Gulf War veteran based at Hickam Air Force Base, will be dishonorably discharged for possession of less than a gram of marijuana (Star-Bulletin, April 26). It is absurd that this military officer's career should end in dishonor due to an airport underwear search. The war on drugs, in this case assisted by the Patriot Act, is out of control. It threatens us all.

I believe our founding fathers would be horrified by the erosion of civil rights and personal freedom in our country today. Can you imagine Thomas Paine's reaction to a country that requires "travel papers" (photo identification) of its citizens? This smacks of Nazi Germany, with jack-booted guards boarding a train and demanding, "Where are your travel papers?" Then, once the proper papers are produced, the cowed citizen is subjected to a body search. Is this the country that our forefathers envisioned and that the Hickam officer earned a Distinguished Flying Cross defending?

When we as citizens allow the "camel's nose" of government intervention to poke its way under the "tent" of our personal lives and privacy, we run a serious risk. One day we may wake up and find a camel in our own BVDs.

Eric R. Anderson

Liberated Iraqis can't be trusted yet

As I understand the war in Iraq, it was ostensibly to liberate the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein; it was not to conquer, occupy or colonize the country. My question is this: How can a population so mesmerized and brainwashed by Saddam and his followers for more than 20 years so quickly, in a matter of days like a chameleon, welcome the American military as liberators?

We cannot allow armed "liberated" Iraqis in the streets of Baghdad out of control and placing our military in harm's way. All Iraqis should be disarmed.

Toshio Chinen
Pearl City

What a relief to see kava redeemed

The "This Sunday" column by Heidi Chang (Star-Bulletin, April 27), regarding the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources ongoing research into the kava-liver controversy, was a wonderful and welcome news item. All the past negative publicity that was generated from the original German ban on kava products caused a multimillion-dollar export business in Hawaii and the South Pacific, to basically cease. This new research may hold the key to revitalizing the industry, and in any case it is more proof that use of the traditional parts of the plant have never been a problem. Throughout the Pacific there are many folks who drink 'awa (kava) in the traditional way -- as a relaxing and healthy beverage at the end of the work day.

Thanks to the Star-Bulletin for reporting this very positive research and the other, ongoing research activities at the UH regarding 'awa.

Ed Johnston
Project Coordinator
Association for Hawaiian 'Awa
Pepe'ekeo, Hawaii

Properly brewed kava is safe to drink

I have been a regular drinker of 'awa, or kava, for three years and have not had any problems. I personally am not worried about its affects on the liver, and believe that the ongoing research will prove that, if brewed correctly, it is safe to consume.

Pat Ohta
Pearl City

U.S. must find WMDs or risk losing face

To label Senator Inouye as "stone faced" is a cheap shot ("Inouye should have complimented troops," Letters, Star-Bulletin, April 27). Inouye, a proven patriot and Medal of Honor recipient, is correct with his latest public commentary that America's global reputation is on the line in having to prove Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. America had made a case to the world that years of diplomacy with Iraq had failed and the war was necessary to neutralize their WMD. U.S. intelligence had proven Iraq possessed such weapons and was not above unleashing them on the United States, our allies and neighboring countries. The very safety of our nation, we said, was at stake.

Now that we have gone to war, toppled Iraq's regime and are in control of the country, the world community can expect us to display the existence of the WMDs we went to war to neutralize.

As the world's sole remaining superpower, America's reputation and credibility are at stake, and they are crucial to the maintenance of peace and stability throughout the world. To that end, I pray we discover those WMD sometime soon.

Larry T. Hayashida

Family Court system full of improprieties

Congratulations to Rick Daysog and the Star-Bulletin for exposing a blatant example of how incestuous "insider trading" is used under the aegis of Family Court and Child Protective Services ("Children's legal aide becomes (their) foster dad," Star-Bulletin, April 28). Thousands of injustices to children and parents have been allowed in Family Court for so many years that it has become habit in some circles. They appear not to realize that what they have been allowed to do is wrong. They have convinced themselves that manipulating court functions to serve their own ends is acceptable.

Governor Lingle should assign special prosecutors to investigate those individuals in each court system who are responsible for the most serious infractions. Perhaps this investigative report will activate the public to press Lingle to pursue this issue. Only she can.

Philip R. Foti


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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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