Simon Kassemi: Worth fighting for


— "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

- John Stuart Mill

As the election nears and political divisiveness escalates, Americans are - and rightfully should be - seriously contemplating those issues, political and otherwise, that matter most to us. Employment, health care, Social Security and faith-based initiatives deserve consideration, but so, too, do our current military operations in the Middle East. In light of the excessive criticism of the global war on terrorism, I author this letter with a deeply founded concern for the direction in which the American voters will guide our great nation this November.

Recent polls indicate the economy, by overwhelming margins, is the issue of greatest concern to Americans. Although the negative trend of our markets merits the attention of voters and politicians alike, the importance of earning victory in Iraq and Afghanistan should not fall by the wayside, as it has in recent months. Briefly consider the implications of an unstable Middle East for America. The price of oil likely will increase, our access to oil will be compromised, and Americans will forfeit more money at the gas pumps, grocery markets and department stores. Moreover, premature withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the resulting instability will invalidate the progress so many Americans already have paid for with their lives.

Ultimately, Americans will fight the war on terrorism here at home, instead of abroad at its origins. Nobody wants to witness a repeat of the Sept. 11 attacks; national security is worth fighting for. Sen. Barack Obama is an amazing man, and the value of his accomplishments never should be brought into question. Although the inflammatory personal attacks against Obama's character are ill-founded and unrightfully detract from the praise deserved for his notable public service, Obama does not possess the military and executive experience necessary to lead a nation at war. Sen. John McCain will carry into office a legacy of military service and command experience and 22 years of service to our nation as a senator. McCain's records, military and political, evidence his ability to lead our country in war.

It should be noted that a vote for McCain is not a vote for the war. Both candidates seek an end to the war on terrorism. The manner in which they go about achieving this end, though, is markedly different and deserves your most sincere consideration.

A vote for McCain is a vote to end the war with victory in hand and stability in the Middle East. As we make our way to the voting booths this November, I urge everyone to pause for a moment and consider the importance of our country's military operations in the Middle East. Remember, some things are worth fighting for.

Simon Kassemi

Steamboat Springs


JLM 8 years, 6 months ago

The funny thing is that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would probably want to sit across the table from BO than the 'Cuda himself. She'd probably gut him and skin him while BO would probably kiss him. LOL

The prospect of Sarah Palin, who I am quite comfortable with, becoming President is a very long shot. It is a contingency.

The prospect of BO becoming President scares me to death. He is the top of the ticket. His prospects are a certainty.

Quit trying to scare the children. Halloween is over. Stand behind your guy --- BO the naif, the fakir and the poseur.


Don Thayer 8 years, 6 months ago


Let's not allow this forum to degenerate into sqaubbling, this election seems to be more important than usual.


What makes you think Palin is undereducated and inexperienced? She served 4 yrs on the Wasilla city council, 6 yrs as Mayor, chaired the Ak Oil & Gas Conservation Commission for 2 yrs, and currently 2 yrs as Alaska Governor. That's 10 yrs of executive experience. She also defeated an incumbent Governor in the primaries and went on to defeat a former 2-term Democrat Governor in the general election. That shows she's not incompetent as a politician. As for her eduction, she has a Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism.

Obama has no true executive experience, although that doesn't mean he can't do the job - he's highly educated and intelligent.

McCain is 72, Ford and Reagan lived into their 90's, Carter and Bush Sr are in their mid 80's, both still active and alert. I don't like McCain's age, but it doesn't mean he's senile or incompetent, or at death's door.

My opinion of Obama is that he doesn't show Presidential qualities. For most of Bush's Presidency the Democrats have displayed partisanship, trying to divide the country presumably to re-take power. Obama's statements on taxation(more for the wealthy and corporations) serve to further divide us by creating class warfare and resentment toward successful Americans. That is not leadership. McCain supports lower taxes for everyone.

During the 2nd debate Obama said that after 9-11 Bush was wrong to tell Americans to continue to live their lives normally and spend money. The economy would have suffered much worse than it did had we not. Bush showed leadership, Obama demonstrates naivete with his comment.


Robert Huron 8 years, 6 months ago

It makes no difference who wins Tuesday. The Iraqi government will not allow US military forces to stay in their country whether we like it or not. Only time will tell if this war was a total waste and the trillion dollars would have been better spent on Americans instead foreigners and the military industrial complex.


Don Thayer 8 years, 6 months ago


I'd like to compliment you for the opening qoute, it's appropriate for the topic.


Fred Duckels 8 years, 6 months ago

Can anyone explain to me how the big O could be a menber of J. Wrights congregation and not know, after twenty years ,what was going on? How can this lightweight negotiate with adversaries? What are his qualifications other than saying "I didn't know?


seeuski 8 years, 6 months ago

There is no doubt that the MSM and those who are pro Obama had succeeded in belittling Sarah Palin and are now using more tricks to try and keep the polling surges McCain is showing from keeping their loved one, The One, from losing. The bump that Palin gave McCain after the RNC was a threat and by making Palin look bad they succeeded in regaining momentum. It was a well thought out successful plan aided by the likes of Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric,numerous lawyers sent to Alaska on a dirt dig and now some wankers out of Canada. The problem for the lefty's though is that Palin has shown her toughness in many ways these last few weeks for instance going face to face with the uglies at SNL and showing her class. This stunt by the Canadian humorist shows her ability to be vanilla when the unknown is thrust upon her as apposed to the stuff we here when Obama slips up or Biden slips up. From bibles,guns and religion to TV in 1929 and an imaginary President. Moving into a socialist style of government with a guy nobody knows before 2004 because he hides his true identity is not what I would call comforting. No, I will go with the steady hand of John McCain with the most popular US Governor Sarah Palin all day long.


JLM 8 years, 6 months ago

It is a bit of a cop out to imply we don't know enough about BO. The man is a way left liberal and has trotted out the untested and time worn shibelleths of the liberal movement in their entirety.

He was educated at the most liberal schools in America and guess what --- he's a wild eyed liberal.

He has learned his political skills in the dirtiest political cess pool in America and guess what --- he's an inveterate liar.

He has associated with a similar bunch of liberal folks whose view are equally anti-American and suspect and guess what --- BO has some really weird socialist ideas like wholesale income redistribution.

He is untested and inexperienced and guess what --- his ideas are untested, naive and silly.

He has never held an executive position nor run a business and guess what --- he espouses ideas which are goofy and will negatively impact business.

He has no clue as to the motivations of an employer increasing employment and guess what --- he ha not real idea as to how to create job except for some goody "green" idea of encouraging alternative energy as the basis for employment.

He has no foreign policy experience and guess what --- he is willing to sit down with America's enemies and he makes an around the world GQ runway model tour in order to burnish his credentials. How lame is that?

So, I think we know BO. We just can't believe that's all there is. BO is David Axelrod's creation and not much more.

He is a naif, a fakir, a poseur and a dangerously inexperienced liberal. But we already knew that, didn't we?


seeuski 8 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree with all you say, I was assuming most people have seen for themselves what you are describing. I would add, why not provide a vaulted copy of his birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii and not Kenya as his own Aunt had stated in interviews in Kenya. The fake copies that the ONE had on his website and the one that factcheck had on theirs were different from each other.


seeuski 8 years, 6 months ago

Obama's Civilian Security Force?

Who is he talking about are you kidding me? What about the existing police forces? I do not want to live like a Venezuelan, scared to speak up. I am buying protection if this fool is elected.


Steve Lewis 8 years, 6 months ago

Simon, Thanks for writing a first class letter.

McCain has his strengths, Obama has his strengths. I think their respective strengths, as portrayed in campaigns and media, bear out as correct. On the other hand the mudslinging on their weaknesses is almost never true.


Steve Lewis 8 years, 6 months ago

That being said, Robert Huron (above) cuts to the reality that is: Iraq itself wants us to leave, so Iraq will have more to say than Obama or McCain will.

U.S. national security is not so simple. The military ranks 3rd or lower on my list of measures we will apply to provide safety for our kids, their kids, and their kids...

Top of my list is smart diplomacy and next is smart aid to back that up. Foreign countries are predicting 100's of millions of unemployed Muslims whose schools only taught them religion, when they really needed to learn skills. You know where I'm heading...

Robert, Its been an irony to hear mass complaints about the $$ cost of this war and nearly zip about where those $$ went. You are right to acknowledge some American corporations have made fortunes on the decision to invade Iraq.


JLM 8 years, 5 months ago

A SOFA (Status of Forces Agreeent) is not a "hall proctor" permission slip and really doesn't require the agreement of the host country. Witness Germany and Japan post WWII. We still have troops there.

SOFAs often revolve around such arcane matters as what law applies (UCMJ, Uniform Code of Military Justice or local law) if a soldier does something untoward outside a military base or in the local area; who has the priority of transportation on the MSRs (main supply routes) and air traffic rules.

It would be nice to work with the local government but it is not a requirement.

As to diplomacy --- everybody hopes that diplomacy can solve all of our problems. When a despot defies unending UN Resolutions, then some other plan has to be given serious consideration. I sincerely hope that Obama, if elected, can negotiate a settlement on Iran's budding nuclear capabilities with Mahmoud Ahminedejad.

MA: Israel is a rotting, stinking corpse and should be wiped off the earth. Don't you agree, Barack Hussein?

BO [looking dashing in a GQ dark blue suit with contrasting Hermes tie]: Yo, Mahmoud, that kind of talk is not welcome and does not represent the change that my administration stands for internationally.

MA: The Holocaust never happened. The Jews are liars and deserve to be slaughtered and eaten like carrion.

BO [giving his sincere and understanding community organizer look]: Well, I agree that the Jews can be a bit sharp with a buck at times, but I think that Holocaust thing is a pretty sure bet, Mo.

MA: We will continue to develop peaceful nuclear capabilities for, uuhhh, electricity. Yeah, that's the gig, eeeeeeeelectricity!

BO [with the wide eyed astonishment of a deer being confronted by a Ford F350 at 3:00 AM coming over Rabbit Ears]: Well, Mo, we made a little progress, now didn't we? Keep hope alive, Mo!

MA: Who was that guy?

The American foreign aid program --- with the exception of the Marshall Plan --- has been a colossal failure with the exception of the Bush administration's African AIDS initiatives.

What the new President really has to learn is how the heck has the Bush administration kept us safe for 7 years?


Steve Lewis 8 years, 5 months ago

JLM, Bush kept us safe? Let's count back EIGHT years, not just 7. History will remember that 9 months after Bush took office, 10 months after warnings from Richard Clark of a likely attack, 3,000 plus Americans died in New York.

History will note the next 7 years of Bush as marking a 100 fold increase in the number of people willing to pick up guns or wrap themselves in explosives to kill Americans.

Bush was a disaster.

Yes, our foreign aid is currently a colossal failure. That's why I said we need "smart aid". Our current aid policy apparently requires U.S. corporations receive trade advantages into the markets of recipient countries.

I'm trying to verify how much of our foreign aid is actually arms trade. I believe arms are an enormous share of our foriegn aid budget. So far only more "corporate feed trough" and "its counterproductive" articles on military aid programs.

Still looking...

Smart aid would actually reduce poverty and unemployment in the third world and developing world. We currently seem willing to practice the opposite. Here's an interesting picture that says a lot to me:

To me that picture represents a tipping point. Smart aid would help them leverage their standard of living upward. Dumb aid is exploiting their trade policies for our $$ gain, creating unemployed masses and regional instability.

The military is powerless against this scale of humanity, and it cannot insulate us from global reality.


JLM 8 years, 5 months ago

OK, so this would be the Richard A Clarke who was the freakin' anti-terror "czar" for 8 long years of Bill Clinton? Who missed 10 opportunities to kill OBL and 2 opportunities to capture him? That Richard Clarke? GMAFB!

Look, 9-11 was pretty damn clever. Give the devils their due. They had a very cost effective plan with only one flaw --- they had to die to execute it. Of course, they did get 72 virgins each, didn't they? Can you imagine a half a gross of chicks all who know nothing about sex? LOL --- that alone should tell one something about their culture. Give me a hooker who graduated magna cum laude anytime! LOL

A sharp FBI agent in Phoenix just about got it right and asked for permission to investigate. Every FBI investigation requires a fiscal note to "open a file". HQ failed to approve her request.

And a flight instuctor in Florida raised the right question --- why would some Arabs who cannot make satisfactory progress toward a Private Pilot license over 12 months be interested in 737 simulator time at $300/hour?

To hang that on President Bush is just silly.

Since 9-11, the administration has done a superb job in maintaining our safety --- no thanks to the likes of the NYT. I would love to be a fly on the wall when the next President gets briefed by W and finds out how they have done it.

All foreign aid fails on the simple premise of --- give a man a fish or teach him to fish? Corrupt regimes who are recipients of American aid prefer to create and maintain a subservient and dependent population.

I think we should let the world go cold turkey on American aid or at least rebuild Newark and Detroit and Chicago first, eh?


Steve Lewis 8 years, 5 months ago

JLM, You are usually more disciplined.

Richard Clark gave the warning. His credentials are he was Clinon's point man. Calling Clark a goofball hardly erases the warning he gave Bush.

Bizarre to blast Clinton for not nailing Bin Ladin (back up those failures?). Then Bush does the same thing with 100 fold the $$ and blood applied, JLM gives him a pass?

Clinton is a fool, yet because the enemy is so clever, you forgive Bush for letting 9/11 happen. Sooo partisan...

Let's stop that military aid of billions, save billions more on tactical DOD overkill we'll never use against anyone, and do some preventative, smart foreign aid.

How does it go? The U.S. spends more on its military than the next 9 countries combined?

I'll trade you one stealth bomber for a couple hundred schools built in Muslim country. Its inevitably the way. You'll come around.


JLM 8 years, 5 months ago

If you read Clarke's book, you find absolutely no evidence of his having given a warning of any kind whatsoever. You will also divine that he is an idiot. Read his book and see if you disagree.

The election is over and you are clinging to a lense which only sees R v D. I simply think that Clarke is an idiot. I think Clinton missed several chances to wack OBL (cause he was a bit distracted at the time). If it makes you feel better, then let's say President Bush made the same error though he almost got him at Tora Bora. I am very surprised that OBL has survived in the Kush for so long. Sharing the blame does not absolve anybody.

You are naive in the extreme if you believe that foreign governments would ever allow schools to be built with American foreign aid --- why? --- they have a vested interest in the fiction that the aid did not come from America.

I think the story of Oprah Winfrey's school in S Africa is a very interesting story. A single such project cured her from any more. Sad but true.

Some years ago I was involved in the development of water wells in Africa as a philanthropic endeavor. Because I knew something about the engineering of water wells, I was naturally interested as it leveraged something I knew about and because clean water is so essential and fundamental to good health.

The opposition and corruption we encountered was incredible. You would have thought we were trying to convert them to Catholicism or Judaism. It was at every level.

I was determined to get this done and would brook no opposition. From a program of 500 wells, we eventually were able to complete 50. Then we simply ran out of gas.

Do you know as an example, that when we assist countries in Africa with basic foodstuffs that the most delicate issue is often the packaging of the rice? It cannot have any reference to the US of A. This is even an problem with the UN. There are countless examples of the UN failing to distribute food because of the compromising packaging.

I am in complete agreement that weapon development is a fertile area to reduce government spending. In fact, there is considerable evidence that the most cost effective weapons systems will be unmanned in the future --- witness the UAV program which has been used so well in the Middle East. It makes the Air Force go mad because they must recruit computer gaming geeks to run them.


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