Did mayor ask for permission?
To the editor:
Bill Hannay worked long and hard to secure the $10,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources for a skateboard park for Salem's children.
Did Mayor Wolford ask Bill's permission to spend this money for the duck pond? If not, why not?
Have their reasons for casinos
To the editor:
The battle over organized gambling, ie, casinos and slot machines will continue until the economy recovers.
Supporters are Governor Strickland, Organized Labor and organized casino groups.
Governor Strickland wants slots because industry is leaving Ohio so he ain't gettin' his tax cut.
Organized Labor supports casinos because all casino workers are union members. Imagine that. The casino groups, well they're just a legit business trying to make an honest buck. Yeah, right and I've got a government run health care plan that won't exceed budget.
WILLIAM E. EARDLEY,
Mobile Meals in need of drivers
To the editor:
Help! Salem Mobile Meals has been delivering meals since 1975 and has never missed a delivery in the 34 years. To date, we have delivered over 350,000 meals, however, due to many of our drivers vacationing in the south during the winter, we have now reached the point that we need help.
If any of your readers can drive any day between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and are willing to undergo an orientation program, we ask that they call our coordinator, Jo Anna Bosel, at 330-332-2160. There are many folks depending on daily delivery of meals and we are reaching out to the community for help.
GEOFFREY S. GOLL,
Should withdraw from Afghanistan
To the editor:
The numbers say it all. The U.S. now has 69,000 troops in Afghanistan. At the height of the Vietnam War there were over 500,000 American soldiers in South Vietnam. And we lost. South Vietnam covered an area of only 67,108 square miles. Afghanistan covers 251,772 square miles.
The Soviet Union tried what the U.S. is trying. Between Dec. 25, 1979, and Feb. 15, 1989, when they admitted defeat and pulled out, the Soviets had 620,000 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.
To put that in perspective, at any given time there are only around 600,000 active-duty combat troops in all the U.S. Army and Marine Corps combined.
Over 15,000 Soviet soldiers died in Afghanistan and 53,753 were wounded. At the time, the Red Army was thought to be the largest, best trained, most committed ground fighting force in the world. And they lost. The Soviet government and Soviet society as a whole never recovered from the toll taken there.
The army was left in shambles and the troops badly demoralized. Many historians attribute the fall of the Soviet Union to the devastating Afghan losses.
Afghanistan has never, over centuries of time, been defeated or successfully occupied by outside forces. It is often referred to as the "graveyard of empires." The British have fought three previous wars there. They lost them all.
The military situation for the U.S. there is rapidly deteriorating.
The recent troop surge in the southeast has failed. American commanders report their forces have been pushed past their limits by stubborn Taliban fighters and U.S. troops are now falling back to their main bases.
We are at a crossroad. It is time for President Obama to rethink his Afghan policy and withdraw from the country.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan as retaliation against al-Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks, but now finds itself in a civil war with brutal local religious fanatics while al-Qaeda slips off to bases in other countries. It is appalling that any U.S. president or military commander believes the U.S. can succeed where all others failed. One would think history might serve as a prudent guide, but in the United States of Amnesia too many no longer pay attention to history.
When coupled with an imperialist hubris that creates the illusion we can never be defeated, ignorance becomes a recipe for disaster.
The Obama administration has no clear objective, no battle plan, and no exit strategy. Experts say that despite an eight year American presence, the war is only in its early stages and predict it will become much more bloody should the U.S. persist. Increasing the troop level, as military advisers suggest, will mire the U.S. for years in a country where success cannot be achieved and casualties will drastically mount while al-Qaeda watches safely from other locations.
Terrorism is portable and unrestricted by national borders. Fighting a ground war in one country will not defeat al-Qaeda.
The belief that a war in Afghanistan is necessary to keep Americans safe is a fallacy that must be discarded.
First and foremost, this policy did not keep safe the 850 Americans who have died there to date, and it will not keep safe the thousands who will die there in the future.
The policy did not save the 4,346 Americans who have died to date in Iraq. That these 5,196 deaths now total more than all who died on 9/11 should point out the utter absurdity of a belief that we are saving American lives while protecting ourselves from another 9/11. Another 9/11 has already occurred has it not?
ALAN B. COHEN,