Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Thursday, February 18, 2010

U.S. should leave Afghanistan

We are approaching a grim milestone in Afghanistan: The number of U.S. military deaths is approaching 1,000. An overwhelming number of Afghans want political negotiations and development. Is war really our best answer?

In the ninth year of war, civilian casualties are rising horribly. The current assault in Marjah is a show of force that threatens to undermine the stated U.S. strategy of putting Afghans at the center of efforts to rebuild, rather than putting them in the cross hairs of weapons.

Most Afghans see direct negotiations with the Taliban and all other armed forces as the best path forward. The U.S. role is clear: support regional diplomacy with bordering states. Pledge sustained, transparent funds for Afghan-led development. Resist the myth that one more “;win”; will remove the Taliban.

Let's remove our weapons, our troops and our goal of a militarized Afghanistan. This triad will only create more pain and suffering for everyone. Not one more death, not one more dollar for war.

Louise Simrell






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If you build the rail, we will ride

I was one of the founders of WeWillRide, a group of students with a simple message: If you build the rail, we will ride. Since founding the group in 2008, we have gained support from hundreds of students statewide. Through rallies, fliers and events, we aim to educate our generation about the many benefits that a rail system would provide in Honolulu.

I am now a member of the Mayor's Youth Council on Rail, where we will continue the dialogue and focus on how the creation of a rail system in Honolulu would benefit not only our generation but generations to come.

The people of Honolulu have voted for a rail transit system and look forward to its implementation. If you build the rail, we will ride.

Pace Kaneshige

Member, Mayor's Youth Council on Rail

(Editor's note: This letter was signed by 100 high school and college students who participated in the Mayor's Rail Youth Summit on Feb. 12 at Leeward Community College.)


City Hall should issue entry passes

As a person who visits the Frank Fasi Municipal Building regularly for business, I question why architects, engineers, contractors and others who have contracts with the city are not issued passes.

To enter military bases, people with regular business usually apply for a pass, which is issued for a period of time.

If the city were to do the same, it would expedite entering and not waiting in the rain or delay meetings.

Leonard K.P. Leong



Health care must be reformed now

The latest study from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that health care costs increased last year at the fastest rate in more than 50 years. According to this study, health care spending rose to an estimated $2.5 trillion in 2009 (or $8,047 per person)—and is now projected to nearly double by 2019. If we hesitate to act now, this growing burden will mean more lost jobs, more families pushed into woeful bankruptcy and more crushing debt that will be passed on to the next generation.

The conclusion is clear: This isn't a problem we can afford to put off for another decade, or even another year. The need to pass health reform legislation is urgent.

We've already arrived so close to getting such legislation passed. But there are those in Washington who are now saying that we should delay or give up reform altogether. We need to sound the clarion call that average Americans all across this great nation understand what this means for our economy and our lives, and that we want urgent action to realize a truly humane idea whose time has come.

Al Braidwood



Bills not silly for tortured animals

I think it's time for Richard Borreca to retire from his “;On Politics”; column, or at least try to understand the topics about which he writes.

On Feb. 10, he wrote a column that labeled as frivolous a bill that attempts to ban the sale of foie gras that is produced by torturing ducks and geese (”;Fewer bills this year but most still frivolous,”; Star-Bulletin), introduced by Sen. Clayton Hee and passed by his committee. At the same hearing, another bill introduced by Sen. Hee to ban shark finning also passed. So, by implication, Borreca also was calling Sen. Hee “;frivolous.”;

Au contraire, Richie. Time to think before you write.

In fact, Sen. Hee is the Legislature's foremost advocate to ban animal cruelty in all its guises. These two bills that he introduced are attempting to ban two of the most egregious, horrific forms of torture that humans ever have inflicted on animals: forcing metal tubes down the throats of ducks and geese and force-feeding them huge amounts of food to grow a diseased, enlarged and fatty liver; and catching sharks and, while still alive, cutting off their fin just to make soup while the shark dies a horrifying death.

There was a huge outpouring of community support, and even international attention on behalf of passing these two bills.

Animal cruelty may be frivolous to an insensitive columnist, but to animals and their supporters, I can assure readers that this is one of the most pressing issues of this session.

Dr. Joel Fischer