Helping, Not Harming
The United States could be and should be improving our nation's infrastructure -- bridges, highways, roads and passenger railroads. We could have and should have men and women exploring the moon and Mars and the rest of space. So many things we now take for granted have come from our scientific exploration of space.
We could be and should be helping other nations settle their differences, showing them how to grow more organic food, improving their water supplies, hospitals and medical facilities and providing low-cost medicines, especially the newest medicines for combating AIDS.
We could be and should be demonstrating to the world how worthwhile a federalist, democratic republic with a free-enterprise economic system and protected civil rights can be.
We could be and should be distributing weapons of mass sustainability, not weapons of war destruction. We should be cooperating in every way possible with other countries, particularly those with needy populations. We should also be helping the starving and underfed and homeless citizens in our own country.
The United States is not going along with other countries but is seeking the cooperation of all of them for a war against Iraq.
War, war, war. Going to war to get peace only begets more wars, more hatred, more slaughter of innocents. It's a lesson that is repeated over and over in the history of ancient civilizations to present times. When will we ever learn?
Of course, there is profit in war for many corporations. The most outstanding example of all is the military-industrial complex that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about.
Ever since the present administration took office, war has been planned and waged on our environment in order to enrich big corporate interests at the expense of the public.
Our environment was badly mistreated in the past, but for the last 30 years environmentalists have been gradually establishing protections. Now scientists in ecology, biology, geology, etc. are being ignored. The huge corporations are not only being listened to and making unconscionable fortunes, but they are guaranteeing enormous amounts of money to politicians.
It is too bad, but easy to understand, how George W. Bush came to be governor of Texas and president of the United States. Not only did he have more than enough financial support, he also had the genius of Karl Rove with his political know-how and huge bag of tricks.
A long time ago, Phillip Knight wrote that the first casualty of war is truth. It is all too obvious today that truth is the first casualty of pre-war.
Through our talk of pre-emptive strikes, which are not at all in keeping with our history and traditions, and our belligerent policies, we are creating more terrorists, terrorist organizations and other people who hate America. Could this terrible result be reversed by the suggestions made at the beginning of this letter? I hope and pray every day that we can see that this be true.
Closer to the truth
These times are trying my soul.
Some choices that Americans need to make are, at the very least, difficult. Often, television programs quote surveys that indicate some percent of the American public is for a war with Iraq and that another percent is against. These same shows often present comments and debates between people who can best be described as extreme.
I suspect for most Americans the choices are not quite that cut and dried. For most the question might be closer to "when" and "under what conditions" America should use the war option. Some feel we have reached that point now and others feel that we have additional options to try first. And some Americans are still undecided.
I really don't think there exists many Americans who want people to die in a war. And I don't think there are many Americans who want Saddam left free to create more weapons of mass destruction.
The differences are in determining the best way to avoid a loss of life and a loss of freedom. No matter what course is contemplated, there are costs involved. And these costs must include money, resources, life, dignity and world opinion. The calculations of the costs must rely on a combination of what we know to be true and what we estimate. And therein lies the big problem. It is a problem for people on all sides of the issue. Making these estimates can be uncomfortable, frustrating and even fearful.
What we can know with certainty:
Television handles news and opinions in a manner that will attract sponsors. Iraq is in violation of some U.N. resolutions. There are other countries in violation of U.N. resolutions.
The administration wants Americans and the U.N. to sanction a war with Iraq. World opinion varies on the subject of a war with Iraq.
Both a war and terrorism involve a loss of life. Both a war and terrorism have costs including money, resources, life, dignity and world opinion. Both a war and terrorism have an influence on the world's perception of the United States.
What we must estimate:
How much television shows taint fact and public opinion to attract sponsors. How much life will be lost in a war. How much life will be lost as a result of terrorism.
What a war will cost in terms of human suffering. What terrorism will cost in terms of human suffering. What a war will cost in terms of the world's perception of the United States. What terrorism will cost in terms of the world's perception of the United States.
The total extent of Saddam's violations of U.N. resolutions. The total extent of Saddam's ties to terrorism.
What is essential to remember is that estimates are just that, estimates. Just because someone else's estimate is different from yours, that doesn't make him or her evil. In fact, they may actually be closer to the truth than you.
We are all Americans and this is not a game to be won or lost. It is serious business.
Stephen L. Rummler
A very close call
On March 1, the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team was on its way home from the district tournament in Grand Junction after a second-place finish. The team's two vehicles had just come out of DeBeque Canyon when the bus driver (and one of the coaches) saw headlights coming directly toward them, someone obviously going the wrong way.
Both vehicles quickly slowed down. The bus was able to avoid a collision with the oncoming pickup. The Suburban, following behind the bus, could not completely get out of the way of the weaving driver. The truck sideswiped the Suburban with its rear-view mirror, breaking the Suburban's right back seat window. Both Steamboat vehicles came to a safe stop, and the pickup stopped as well, bogged down in the center median.
Although the Suburban's window was shattered and the damage was done to its door panels, none of its passengers were seriously injured, only a few minor cuts. The two coaches and two players took a collective sigh of relief and thanksgiving.
Once the bus driver, also a Steamboat Springs police officer, determined the Suburban's occupants were fine, he went to find out the status of the pickup driver.
The driver apparently had been drinking. The driver not only was unaware he hit the Suburban but also thought he was driving on the frontage road next to the interstate, not going westbound on eastbound I-70.
The local police and Colorado State Patrol arrived. The coaches and players took care of one another, and the pickup driver failed his road sobriety test. The state patrolman handcuffed the driver and put him in his car.
After loading all the players, coaches and equipment in the bus, the Sailors continued their journey home, arriving at the high school well after 3 a.m. the next morning.
When such a traumatic event occurs, it is not unusual for those involved to take time to reflect on what happened. As the parents of one of the players in the Suburban, we would like to share our reflections:
We are thankful that no one, including the pickup driver, was seriously hurt or killed. We know an army of God's angels kept everyone safe.
We are thankful that the coaches driving our team had well-honed defensive driving skills and quick reflexes.
We are thankful that the players witnessed firsthand what happens when someone drinks and then drives. We hope they will remember this trip when they make decisions about their own behavior. We also hope they will share their perspectives with fellow students.
We believe the pickup driver should face serious consequences for his actions, particularly if this is not his first offense, including substance-abuse treatment.
We want to thank Chris Adams for being an extraordinary coach and Suburban driver. We want to thank Jason Patrick for being a wonderful driver, coach and police officer. And we want to thank coach Bronner and the basketball players who rallied around each other after the accident.
We hope no one who reads this will have to experience the fear and anxiety we felt when the telephone rang with our son telling us he had been in an accident with a drunken driver.
Please, remember -- never take anything for granted, don't wait for a special moment to tell those you love how you feel, and promise yourself to make responsible decisions each and every day.
The moral of this true story is that life can change in a moment.
Mike and Martha Fosdick