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Everybody's Column / Letters from our Readers

Americans protesting war encourage Iraqi insurgents

There is no doubt that Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier who lost his life in Iraq, believes her anti-war cause is right. But anti-war protests cause the insurgents to believe they are winning, and encourage them to keep up their murder and resistance. This only leads to more loss of American lives.

Isolationism has never worked. Every life is precious, but history tells us that the sooner we confront those who wish to destroy us, the less costly it is to defeat them in terms of equipment, money and lost lives. Even many of the liberals in Congress, who are quick to blame President Bush for everything bad that happens, agree that pulling our troops out before the Iraqi government is firmly established would be a big mistake.

If the terrorists would see Americans show a united front, we would be out of Iraq much sooner. Leaving before a constitution is established and Iraqis are able to govern themselves would only mean having to deal with a much worse situation somewhere down the road.

Malcolm V. Short Sr.



Sheehan deserves support for trying to save lives

To the author of the Sept. 4 letter criticizing those who oppose the Iraq war, I would like to say: Shame on you and President Bush. Some people just don't get it. There is no shame in what Cindy Sheehan is doing. She is within her rights and is trying to keep other military personnel from dying, as her son did. We don't need to be involved in Bush's personal vendetta. He never should have started this war.

Bush's blind followers should be the last ones to talk about "uninformed Americans believing one-sided information." That is exactly what she is doing -- believing only what Bush tells her. That's one-sided. We support the military all the way. We just don't support what the troops are being ordered to do. We also fully support Sheehan and her cause. I think she deserves the support and encouragement of all Americans.

Finally, has the writer ever lost a child? I have, and believe me, it's something I will never recover from.

Vi Anderson

Grand Island


Don't single out Buffalo on lack of minority coaches

As a Buffalo public school teacher, I certainly agree with Bob DiCesare that our district needs more minority coaches. But more importantly, we need more minority teachers, as do Williamsville, Lockport, West Seneca and the remaining suburbs. In fact, I would bet that Buffalo hires more minorities than these suburbs combined. So why single out Buffalo?

This idea that minorities are "dissuaded" from teaching because of "tumultuous classroom experiences" does little to help his argument. Shouldn't those who handle these "tumultuous" experiences be hired first? DiCesare's Sept. 7 column was a plain shot at the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

Anthony Pasceri



Bush policies aid the rich and leave the poor behind

Privatizing Social Security will not be an issue for the rich, but having a private account isn't necessarily an asset for the poor who, in a crisis, will withdraw the funds even with penalties and tax consequences. Having a personal retirement account will render more people ineligible for aid programs such as Medicaid, HEAP, food stamps, legal aid, Child/Family Health Plus, etc. Also, anyone faced with bankruptcy will have to declare the retirement account as an asset.

Bush can again cut funding to these programs, and with fewer people able to qualify for aid, it will go a long way in reducing his budget deficit and further assist his agenda of taking from the poor to give to the rich.

Bush has a lot of stock in people who have been misled by a wickedly deceptive and dangerous belief that it's "patriotic" to support our leaders and all their policies without question. I believe our patriotic duty to our country is to care and to speak out against the things that we believe are wrong. That's what words like "freedom" and "democracy" mean, and what will keep this country strong and its people proud.

Lynn Greene

North Tonawanda


Schumer's list of questions for Roberts is excessive

My dad had several quotations he liked to use. One came to mind recently when The News reported on Sept. 9 that Sen. Charles Schumer had 87 questions he was going to ask Judge John Roberts at his confirmation hearings. Schumer added that he would have a totally open mind during those hearings. Here's the quote: "People who say they have open minds often mistake them for open spaces." Totally.

Richard Wheaton



Loss of Mead branch library is another blow to neighborhood

I read the list of library closings in the Sept. 2 News, which included the Mead branch library in the Lovejoy-Iron Island neighborhood. I am sick to my stomach that the county, city and library board would choose to close this vital facility in our neighborhood. As far as I am concerned, we don't need a terrorist attack or a Category 5 storm to decimate our area. Our elected officials have already done an excellent job of this, taking our park, police protection and now our library. What else do they want from us?

Someone told me a long time ago when I started my activism, "Marge, you don't see the big picture." I see it now. The most convenient neighborhood in the City of Buffalo, where people truly love their homes and families, is targeted to go the way of the rest of the East Side. Will we fight back?

Marge Thielman Hastreiter



Let New Orleans pay for its own mistakes

In her Sept. 2 column, Molly Ivins deplores the gradual disappearance of wetlands on the Gulf Coast, saying that hurricanes plus government kill people. She writes about governmental policies and the consequences and responsibilities involved. That's fine as far as she goes.

Then she decries that there was no constancy in national laws protecting the wetlands near New Orleans. That leaves the responsibility on local government, where it belongs. Why should the rest of us bear the consequences by helping New Orleans pay for the rebuilding of its infrastructure? Let New Orleans pay for its own mistakes.

Gabriel Krafft

East Amherst


Independent panel must review poor response to hurricane

We need an independent commission to investigate what went wrong at federal and other agencies in their response to Hurricane Katrina. This is not a Republican versus Democrat argument. Nothing ever comes of investigating oneself.

Helen Urban



Colleges should bargain with publishers to lower book prices

The exorbitant prices college students pay for textbooks is a disgrace. The schools are in a strong position to negotiate with the publishers for reasonable prices and should do so. It is difficult enough that today's students are heavily in debt with student loans to cover their expensive tuition.

I was fortunate in having the World War II and Korean G.I. Bills cover my college and law school tuition and expenses. I am forever thankful. The program was among the wisest investments by the government.

Bedros Odian


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