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Everybody's Column

Israel is not trying to lure U.S. into war

A recent letter writer accused Israel of trying to lure the United States into a war with Iran. This cries out for correction.

First, the United States has important national interests that are threatened by the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons capabilities by Iran. These include the maintenance of freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, the welfare of important Arab allies in the region, the survival of Israel and the critical importance of denying nuclear weapons capabilities to terrorist groups.

Secondly, the false depiction of Israel as a deceptive agent trying to embroil the United States into combat is entirely at odds with the truth of Israel's willingness to confront an existential threat to its survival on its own. Israel is not seeking combat involvement by U.S. forces if it decides on pre-emptive action. If such action takes place and is assisted by U.S. forces, that assistance will be rendered because it is judged by our government to serve U.S. national interests.

The writer described the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as "brutally horrid." Yet objective measurements of living standards such as per capita income qualify Gaza residents as relatively fortunate compared to citizens of most other Arab countries. One is left to wonder why this writer neglected to describe the Iranian regime's depiction of Israel as "a cancer" in the Middle East and its threats to destroy Israel as "brutal" or "horrid."

I am particularly insulted by his depiction of an important episode of American history as indicating an "appetite" for "terrorism." The mention of the Civil War in this vein, in which the North sought to end the practice of slavery, is baffling.

Finally, I condemn his invocation of the Holocaust to support his anti-Israel stance in a matter in which the remnants of the Jewish people are being threatened with nuclear extermination.

Daniel H. Trigoboff



Gerber is dedicated to animals' welfare

In response to the negative remarks in the media associated with Dr. William Gerber of Gerber Small Animal Hospital in Niagara Falls and the SPCA of Niagara, we feel compelled to respond. We have known Gerber for close to 30 years while he treated our pets in his practice. He is kind, caring and thorough. He treated our pets with the most conservative approach, always with the animals' welfare first and foremost. Many times as we sat in his waiting room, walk-ins would come in who were not his patients but were in crisis. Gerber would see their pet and treat and help them if he could, regardless of how full the waiting room was.

It is unfortunate that, having treated animals free from the SPCA and being a medical adviser when needed, he should bear this negative publicity. Obviously he has a full-time practice and gave of himself as he could.

Gerber's staff has done more for helping and finding homes for stray animals than any other organization I know. These people are dedicated and live this dedication through their kind actions on behalf of all animals every day.

It is clear from the waiting list to get into his practice, and from speaking with his clients, that he and his staff and partner are true heroes in defense of animals. Gerber always took the time during appointments to give quality care and we can think of no one more qualified to be entrusted with our beloved pets. That is the type of publicity he deserves.

Paul and Amy Incorvaia



Tier VI will not solve state's fiscal problems

The News editorialists often write as if they believe that every problem has a solution. Sadly, it is the reverse that is more nearly true. Every solution has a problem. The News' advocacy of the governor's Tier VI concept of pension reform is a good example. Raising the retirement age for state workers to 65 creates some interesting questions. Do we want 65-year-olds teaching our children? Any teacher will tell you classroom management requires an enormous amount of energy. Do 65-year-olds have that much? Do we want 65-year-old police officers chasing young thugs down our streets? What about 65-year-old firefighters?

Financially, the Tier VI proposal amounts to kicking the can down the road. Workers ages 55 to 65 generally have reached the top salary step. When they retire, they are usually replaced by young career entrants earning far less money. If we keep the older workers working longer at higher salaries, where is the cost saving?

Bill Gross



Flight 3407 families deserve much praise

Feb. 12 was the third anniversary of the second fatal commercial airline crash (the first occurred near Salamanca in 1951) in Western New York. Many of us remember that terrifying night in 2009 when the TV newscasts announced the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 in Clarence Center. All 50 occupants on board, plus a resident at the crash site, perished. Both tragedies were caused by pilot error in poor weather conditions.

The Clarence Center crash is still in the news to this day thanks to the relentless demands for meaningful airline safety regulations by family members of those who lost their lives. As many of us know, change travels at a snail's pace when it comes to the Federal Aviation Administration.

These family members have had some success in their many journeys to Washington, D.C., to reach their goals in making commercial aviation safer for the public, but more needs to be done by the FAA. As can be expected, the airline industry, with the help of congressional legislators and well-paid lobbyists, will oppose regulations that are costly to it. Commercial aviation is very competitive and mergers and bankruptcies attest to this fact. Change will not come easily.

Still, these family members and those who support them persist in their fight to reach their ultimate goal: a safe journey while flying. God bless them for their untiring efforts and sacrifices. We salute them and will assist them by urging our representatives to use their influence to back these needed safety regulations in commercial air travel.

Jack Peracciny



It's ridiculous to give free cellphones to poor

I heard about how the government is giving away free cellphones to the poor, with 250 minutes a month. Are they serious? That's more than four hours of calls each month. This government can't keep giving our country away. You really can't "have your cake and eat it, too." Our politicians just keep giving everything away for votes. Is this actually legal? I'm sorry, but the people who get everything free are not "poor." The folks footing the bills are the real poor folks. Why would anyone want to work?

Dale Michels