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Everybody's Column

>There's nothing humorous about life-altering injuries

I am writing to express my profound disgust with The News' decision to reprint on Feb. 1 the Tom Toles cartoon using a likeness of a member of the armed forces who lost his limbs and also had a head injury. To print a "cartoon" that makes light of injuries that have been suffered by hundreds of troops in the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is beyond offensive. The goal of Toles was to try to make a joke of comments by the secretary of defense -- comments that did not insult our troops. In deciding to print this, The News has offended at least one member of the military, and my guess is that I am not the only one.

As a military nurse, I have seen firsthand the challenges our service members face, both from injuries suffered in previous conflicts and from our current conflict. I suggest that before anyone in Buffalo decides to reprint such trash -- trash that prompted the Joint Chiefs of Staff to write the Washington Post condemning its actions -- that you visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. As the Joint Chiefs wrote, "while you or some of your readers may not agree with the war or its conduct, we believe that you owe the men and women and their families who so selflessly serve our country the decency to not make light of their tremendous physical sacrifice." That pretty much sums it up.

Daniel P. McCartan, R.N., M.S.
Commander, Nurse Corps
U.S. Navy Reserve



>Toles' cartoon was targeting Rumsfeld, not brave soldiers

Many people are outraged over Tom Toles' cartoon depicting a quadruple amputee and Donald Rumsfeld declaring him "battle hardened." I viewed the cartoon from a different perspective. Toles is not targeting the extremely brave men and women who have served in Iraq. He is targeting the cabal of cowards like Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney (who received five draft deferments during Vietnam), Paul Wolfowitz and others who pushed for this war. Yes, our president would also have to be included in the group that did not seek combat. Toles is attempting to get the American people to take notice of the lack of judgment of people like Rumsfeld and their inability to understand that this war was a mistake from the beginning.

It is ironic that many of those speaking out against the war are members of the greatest generation who fought in World War II, as well as many Korean and Vietnam veterans. Already many civilian contractors are packing up and leaving Iraq, declaring it too unsafe. Things must be bad when self-preservation trumps greed. Political cartoons are meant to sometimes shock the reader. What good would they be if did not?

The Pentagon should direct its outrage at itself, not Toles, for sending our troops into harm's way without adequate personal protective armor or properly armored vehicles.

Frank Gallagher
U.S. Navy, 1976-1980


>Problem students must be removed immediately

As a school counselor at Lafayette High School, I am growing very weary of hearing Superintendent James Williams say that he does not want "to just warehouse" our most disruptive and unruly students. Does it never occur to him that in not immediately removing them, he is "warehousing" them at the very place they do the most damage?

Why is it that the 30 to 50 disruptive students in every high school have more rights than the 850 to 900 other students? Why do 17- and 18-year-olds, with two credits after four years, have more rights than the students who come every day and just try to do the right thing? About a month ago, while visiting our school, Williams promised me that he was going to "fix this problem." Personally, I would just like him to remove it.

JoAnn Hess


>Many can't see difference between truth and belief

Mark Kristal's straightforward elucidation of the evolution vs. creative design controversy in the Jan. 29 Viewpoints article, "Darwin under attack," made the distinctions so clear that even the most ignorant simpleton ought to understand the realities of the matter. However, those with a closed and biased mind will never comprehend the difference between truth and belief.

Michael Silverman


>Story touting evolution was lacking in facts

The Jan. 29 Viewpoints cover story, "Darwin under attack," is nothing more than the same old same old. Evolution is science. Evolution is more that just a theory. Evolution is concrete and factual, etc. To paraphrase the old Wendy's commercial: Where's the facts? None were given.

Michael Skok


>We can be good citizens by helping New Orleans

The Jan. News 29 editorial, "Gaining jobs from New Orleans," was subtitled "Delaware North can add to its good citizenship by keeping ship staff here." The position that the company should permanently relocate workers displaced by Hurricane Katrina is an incredibly small-minded view of the situation. Would that action by Delaware North be "good citizenship" to the workers who may want to return home, or to the City of New Orleans, which so desperately needs a return of jobs and tax base?

There is no doubt that Buffalo needs jobs, but to suggest pirating them from a city that suffered a tragedy -- the result of which dwarfs our own problems -- is the worst sort of "good citizenship" I've ever heard. I suggest all of us should be good American citizens and support the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, rather than advocating the further economic destruction of that region.

Janet Kniazuk


>Senate minority leader needs to be more vocal

Harry Reid -- who the heck is Harry Reid, and why is his voice so silent that the majority of those who support his Democratic Party cannot hear him? I would like to know what kind of leadership he's leading by and what policies he's guiding his party with.

In the public arena, i.e. C-Span, he is heard from little. So how are we to understand what kind of leadership he brings as Senate minority leader?

Hugh Lipsius


>Hamas victory spells trouble for Mideast

In light of the recent Palestinian parliamentary elections, the United States has its work cut out for it. The notorious terror organization Hamas has apparently won a majority in the Palestinian Authority, which unequivocally spells trouble for any hopes of peace in the Middle East. Events had seemed ominous since Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had been besieged by health problems, and now greater peril looms on the horizon. One thing is certain: The region demands a strong stance from the Israelis. Sharon brought a formidable stance tenfold, and it is certainly imperative upon the Jewish hierarchy to remain focused and poised during these untimely events.

It is never a complete victory when overtly hostile groups aggrandize their power, and it becomes incumbent upon all parties concerned to provide whatever pressure necessary to assuage the situation. The Hamas capture of the Palestinian Authority is a sheer pyrrhic victory. There is little cause to rejoice.

Michael Childs

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