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Everybody's Column

>Carter's one-sided book is not required reading

A recent letter described Jimmy Carter's new book "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid" as necessary reading and said the "book's title says it all." I disagree. Using the word "apartheid" implies South African-style racism, but Carter himself acknowledges that what is going on in Israel is "unlike that in South Africa, not racism but the acquisition of land." The reason that Israel holds on to land is to prevent terrorism. Whenever land has been turned over to the Palestinians, they use it for bombings, kidnappings and firing of rockets against innocent civilians.

Carter claims the Palestinians have long supported a two-state solution. Yet whenever the opportunity for a two-state solution arises, from the 1937 Peel Commission to President Bill Clinton's mediation in 2000, they have rejected it. Clearly Carter is wrong.

His book is so one-sided and full of mistakes that it is hardly necessary reading for any fair-minded person. The writer concluded that Israel should leave the Palestinians with a viable state. Unfortunately, that state at this time would likely be a terrorist one torn by civil war between Fatah and Hamas that would be a threat to all their neighbors.

Franklin B. Krohn
SUNY Distinguished Service Professor
Fredonia State College

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>Religion should have no role in which hospitals are closed

According to writer Tom Clancy, anti-Catholicism is the last respectable prejudice. Such a narrow mind-set was shown in a Dec. 21 letter, which stated that public hospitals should be protected over their Catholic counterparts.

These comments represent a politically-correct, 21st-century iteration of 19th-century nativism, falling under the same ignominious category as "Irish Catholics need not apply."

Already suffering from the impending loss of St. Joseph Hospital, those involved in the Catholic Health System do not need to hear that "because of their relationship to the Church" they ought to be shut down before other institutions.

Living in a secular society does not mean that religious organizations deserve to be discriminated against, especially when they provide services of equal or greater quality.

Anthony Scott
Amherst

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>Criticism of Clark was unwarranted

The letter criticizing and questioning Paul Clark's possible role as the next Erie County executive begs for a rebuttal. Although I am uncommitted as to who would make a better county executive, I am concerned that people make assertions and accusations that defy the facts.

I moved to West Seneca in 1985, and I've kept my municipal property and school tax receipts since 1998. My town taxes increased a total of $310 in those nine years, from $739 to $1,049. That's about $34 a year -- or less than $3 a month! Furthermore, can the writer substantiate his claim that West Seneca has one of the highest tax rates in the county? I find that hard to believe.

Finally, his comment that snow piles up to 6 feet at the end of his driveway merits a response. Doesn't he realize that the town's first responsibility in a snow emergency is to clear major thoroughfares? If the side streets are plowed before the main streets, and one can't drive on the major routes, does that make sense?

Although no one denies another's right to an opinion, at the very least base your opinions on the facts.

Philip Fanone
West Seneca

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>Bush rushed into war, now he's taking his time

A front-page headline in The News indicated that President Bush is planning to take his time and consider all the options before changing his strategy on the Iraq War. He isn't going to rush this important job. My thought was, how sad that he didn't take this time and listen to a variety of experts three and a half years ago, before sending our troops to Iraq.

The 9/1 1 Commission Report stated that there was no credible evidence of any weapons of mass destruction. There were no ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin and no al-Qaida network in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion.

Now there is talk of increasing troop levels. Bush frequently uses the phrase "I fully understand" to preface many statements. I'd like to suggest that Barbara and Jenna Bush be fitted with combat boots and receive military training before being sent to Baghdad to increase the troop levels. Perhaps then Bush would begin to understand the loss that thousands of American families and tens of thousands of Iraqi families have endured.

His failed policy has sent our troops into a "Mission Impossible" situation, resulting in the loss of life of tens of thousands of coalition forces and Iraqis.

Patricia Ford
Hamburg

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>Giambra's birthday bash is in very poor taste

Am I mistaken, or is it the tackiest move on County Executive Joel Giambra's part to "allow" his employees to throw a birthday party for him so he can increase his war chest? By my calculations, this could bring his stash up to around a million dollars. And, since The News pointed out that he will not run for office, and actually could donate the money to a charity of his choice, will we ever find out where that money went? Does he ever have to account for it?

It doesn't take much to figure out where it came from. Campaign funding rules being what they are leave our politicians with a nice nest egg when they retire. After almost bankrupting the county, it's nice to know that at least he won't have to worry where his next meal will come from.

Barbara Lion
Williamsville

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>Phillips is a good argument in support of death penalty

I have never supported the death penalty, believing that we do not have the right to take another life regardless of the circumstances. However, the best argument I have seen in support of the death penalty is Ralph "Bucky" Phillips. It's too bad he will live on the taxpayers' funds for the rest of his life.

Mike Morrison
Buffalo

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>Congress should demand paper ballots for all voters

I join the call for a paper ballot for every vote cast in America. Congress must finally pass an election reform bill in which the American people can have confidence. This must be the first thing that Congress does. Any such legislation must require a paper ballot -- not a "paper trail" or a "paper record" -- for every vote cast. Without the integrity of the vote, how can we call our government a democracy? Democracy means "government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives." Paper ballots should be a top priority in the upcoming legislative session.

Valerie Niederhoffer
Buffalo

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