Letters to the editor on Israel, foreign aid, Rove, health care, women soldiers

11/21/2012 12:00 AM

11/20/2012 5:27 PM

Stop the siege on the Gaza Strip

Israel continues airstrikes and other military actions throughout the largest open-air prison in the world, also known as the Gaza Strip. Palestinian civilians, including children, continue to be killed.

The siege is part of a plan to destroy Gaza and annex the West Bank. It also fits into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political strategy to win the upcoming Israeli elections with the help of the most conservative, right-wing political groups in Israel.

It also fits in with America’s support for Israel “no matter what.” Our tax money helps fund Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system and the development of more and better drones for “surgical” strikes that kill the intended victim and then five or 10 men, women or children who happen to be “in the way.”

I agree with those who say that Hamas should not be firing missiles into Israel; it is a stupid practice. I also believe in justice for the Palestinians, an end to collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and an opening of the borders of Gaza. America needs to pressure Israel to stop the bombing and stop the siege, and the United States needs to stop payment on the Israeli military’s blank check.



Give U.S. goods

President Obama wants ideas. Well, here’s one that can help twofold: Stop giving foreign aid in the form of dollars. Instead, give it in the form of American-made goods.

Most foreign leaders just waste the money on themselves, and it doesn’t help the people of the country who need it. Send the countries American-made goods that can help the people of the country where needed – whether it is tractors, bulldozers, engineering expertise, concrete, steel, etc. This would help the common people of the foreign countries get the products they need to make their lives better, and would also put our American workers back to work.



Rove’s demise

With the election dust still settling, I find myself facing an unanticipated conundrum: whether to give more energy to celebrating President Obama’s re-election or to recognizing the powerful message regarding GOP strategist Karl Rove’s demise.

We can all remember how the Rove-led campaign manipulated “the facts” during the 2000 GOP presidential primary contest, resulting in the nomination of George W. Bush. As the stellar military and political record of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was inaccurately besmirched, the United States ended up with an eight-year presidency that caused our country to suffer economically, in our worldwide image, militarily, and in unnecessary death of human beings and destruction of valued property.

Not only was Rove brought up short in his quest to influence this year’s election – in which he directed incredibly large sums of money – but super political action committees were put on notice about their efforts to “buy” votes. The vote of the man on the street will continue to be regarded with respect, as those machinations geared to barter for large cohorts of voters’ allegiance by simply investing mega-dollars are revealed for their true intentions.

Maybe my dilemma is not so difficult; I will continue to celebrate both results.



Rational plan

Now that the threat of repealing the Affordable Care Act is past, it is time to try to find some common ground in our search for a rational plan for providing health care services to 100 percent of our population. I suggest attention to the following ideas:

•  Examine carefully the reasons that all other developed countries have declared access to basic health care a right for all people, as we have done for education. Agree that causing personal or family bankruptcy because of the high costs of health and illness care is both unacceptable and immoral for the wealthiest nation on Earth.
•  Stop using “socialized medicine” as an emotionally charged term that slams the door shut on civil discourse, because that is not what is proposed.
•  Acknowledge the reality that health and illness care is not a consumer product in the same way that cars, TVs, smartphones, etc., are. Much of such care is sought under emergency or urgent situations, which do not lend themselves to comparison shopping.
•  Consider the possibility that adding the profit motive to human services, especially health and illness care, is inappropriate, and has contributed measurably to the escalating increase in cost well above the rate of inflation.

These are not partisan issues, but should be seen as consistent with “promoting the general welfare.”



Protecting rights

Now that Veterans Day has come and gone, a thought has occurred to me. My freedom and liberty are being defended by military troops who are no longer exclusively male. Even if you are a pacifist or you think our past two wars have been unjust, you can’t deny the courage and valor that women have shown, making a mockery of those, including many Republicans, who insisted that they couldn’t do it.

I can’t help but feel admiration for these women who are gaining their inalienable rights so that they can protect mine.



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