Letters to the Editor

Letters on nation at war, legal bribery, Pompeo hypocrisy, taking responsibility, war with Iran

How would nation perform today?

During a recent conversation with a young man, I casually asked him if he had seen the movie “American Sniper,” directed by Clint Eastwood. His rather stern reply of “no” was followed by an even sterner, “I don’t watch movies that glorify violence.” He also said that he would rather defect to Canada than serve in our military.

A few days later I saw an article about how 71 percent of our young men and women would not qualify to serve in the military because of issues related to health, physical appearance and educational background. Being a World War II combat veteran, I was moved to reflect on the impact of these two events.

History records that during the early expansionism days of World War II, the German, Russian, Japanese and American soldiers fought with great bravery, while the soldiers of the British, Australian and Italian armies performed poorly. During the bleak days when the British were systematically losing their empire at Singapore, Hong Kong and throughout Malaya, Winston Churchill dispatched a message to Gen. Archibald Wavell, his supreme commander in Singapore, to mount a firm defense.

“With the Russians fighting as they are and the Americans so stubborn at Luzon, the whole reputation of our country and our race is involved,” Churchill wrote.

One wonders how our nation would perform today if faced with a major war.

WILLIAM BAKEL

Wichita

Legal bribery

Corruption in politics is nothing new; politicians have been taking bribes for centuries. In the 11th-century Byzantine Empire, officials taking bribes would have their wealth confiscated and be deported. Now the corrupt are in charge, and taking bribes is called lobbying. Investing a few thousand in a politician can pay off in the billions.

Now it’s gone even further. Groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council write legislation for politicians whose memberships are paid for with tax dollars and who in return are given free vacations. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the wealthy can give unlimited amounts of money to charities, which pass all that money on to politicians. Being a so-called charity means these donations are tax-deductible. They actually get a tax break for bribing politicians.

As a result, politicians cater to the needs of their donors rather than the voters. The only way to end this is for 38 states to call for a constitutional convention to override the Citizens United decision. A few have signed on. Look for nonpartisan groups such wolf-pac.com, Public Citizen and Common Cause and see how you can help end legalized bribery by getting all money out of politics.

DOUG ITTNER

Wichita

Pompeo hypocrisy

U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, pushed through the House a bill forbidding individual states from enforcing their own food labeling laws about genetically modified organisms. This is the same man who supports an interstate health care compact to allow the states to get out from under the federal Affordable Care Act. He also advocates vociferously for individual states’ authority on same-sex marriage.

In other words, states’ rights are fine when they are an excuse to do what you want to do, but when you want something in which states’ rights would get in the way, you write a federal law to prohibit them.

Hypocrisy at its finest.

KEITH MURRAY

Wichita

Take responsibility

If college students are getting relief on student loans based on their salary, then I want relief on what I’ve lost in the stock market based on my salary.

If you took out a student loan, it is your responsibility to pay it off, not that of taxpayers. It’s not the taxpayers’ fault that you can’t find a decent-paying job in your chosen field. I agree that you shouldn’t be charged an excessive interest rate, but you should pay some interest.

Our country is full of people who don’t take responsibility for their actions. When you build a home on the beach or go mountain biking in Iraq, boating off the coast of Somalia or sightseeing in North Korea, don’t expect the taxpayer to bail you out when you run into trouble.

RUSSELL SHONK

Wichita

GOP wants war

If the Republicans defeat this deal with Iran – after failing to heed a warning that Iran will likely have a bomb before Christmas if they kill this agreement – whom will they blame? President Obama, of course.

Blame will never fall on them; it never does. Yet if the Republicans had been supportive of the negotiations instead of being detractors, Iran could have been stopped.

Before the Iranian negotiations began, the Republicans were very critical of the sanctions against Tehran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly blasted them as being ineffective, and the GOP agreed. But the split second it was announced that the U.S. would begin discussions with Iran, the right wing quickly changed course. Today they sound as if they had always been supportive.

But, of course, they don’t support sanctions. What they support is war, which is precisely the way Netanyahu sees it and why he was invited to speak to Congress last March. And if a GOP candidate wins the presidency in 2016, that war will come, and Netanyahu will become the de facto leader of America.

MICHAL BETZ

Wichita

Letters to the Editor

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