Sunday, September 21, 2008
Steamboat Springs After reading the commentary by Ms. Schubert-Akin, "Grit, Guts and Determination" (Sept. 14 Steamboat Pilot & Today), I am certain she is still living in that oyster that defined her world as a child. How else to explain her small-minded views and distortion of facts?
I would posit that a better measure of success for our country would be that suggested by Pat Schroeder, "You measure a government by how few people need help?" To those Americans who are working hard and still struggling, to those who worry that their children and grandchildren will not be able to afford the "luxuries" we now enjoy, and to those who recognize that our country's fiscal irresponsibility and reckless borrowing are crippling our economy and burdening future generations - to those proud Americans, I say, patriotism includes expecting a better government.
To clarify some distortions:
- Obama's economic plan will maintain the Bush tax cuts for the majority of Americans, those in the middle class and below, earning less than $250,000 per year. McCain's plan would add almost $4 billion in tax cuts to oil companies. It's obscene, especially during this time when Americans are struggling to put gas in their cars, and oil companies are making record profits, not to expect them to pay their fair share of taxes.
- "Keeping us on offense against the terrorists" and respecting the rights of citizens around the world are not mutually exclusive. The war on terrorism has many fronts, as stated in the Pentagon's recent assessment, The National Defense Strategy of June 2008:
"The use of force plays a role, yet military efforts to capture or kill terrorists are likely to be subordinate to measures to promote local participation in government and economic programs to spur development, as well as efforts to understand and address the grievances that often lie at the heart of insurgencies. For these reasons, arguably the most important military component of the struggle against violent extremists is not the fighting we do ourselves, but how well we help prepare our partners to defend and govern themselves."
As we now know, the surge supported by McCain and Bush, was not recommended or supported by the Joint Chiefs or the Iraq commander on the ground at the time, Gen. George W. Casey. At that time, in November 2006, they all favored "a renewed effort to train and build up the Iraqi security forces so that U.S. troops could begin to leave." (washingtonpost.com)
- Ms. Schubert-Akin's argument for who's a better steward of your money couldn't be more laughable. Do you really want to bring up that bridge to nowhere?
- A plan to drill our way to energy independence speaks to that oyster shell again. There are newer, cleaner, cheaper and safer ways to develop energy. And where would you have us deposit the nuclear waste that will be generated by McCain's energy plan? Perhaps under the backyards of his supporters?
In a year when so much is at stake, we all need to step outside our oysters, study the differences between the candidates and their plans. If you believe, as Ms. Schubert-Akin and McCain do, that the wars we're fighting are worthwhile and necessary to fight this transnational enemy, I urge you to visit with vets in our military hospitals to see for yourself if the cost is too great. My nephew, a Marine medic serving in Afghanistan, lost part of his leg this summer when he stepped on a land mine trying to save a fallen soldier. A family friend, a Marine serving in Iraq, died in Fallujah in November 2004. Our best and brightest young people deserve a commander in chief that listens to all his military advisors. I feel strongly that the cost of this war is too high, and to quote Ted Kennedy, "Young Americans in uniform must never ever be committed to a mistake, but always to a mission worthy of their bravery and sacrifice."