LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 9-17 TO 9-29, 2001

September 28, 2001 11:00 pm

Will Bushs response evoke violence?

To the Editor:

The presidents initial reaction to the tragedies our country experienced last week terrifies me. I fear that it is the type of response that will evoke further violence and continue retributive actions.

Our country clearly needs to be working with the rest of the world in order to increase our security as a nation. This implies that the United States also needs to be concerned about the issues and problems of other nations as well.

Nothing could have demonstrated to Americans more dramatically that we do not stand alone. A show of might by America is ludicrous in the face of our obvious vulnerability.

In the August issue of The Sun magazine, former attorney general Ramsey Clark was quoted as saying, We still have 22 commissioned Trident nuclear submarines, which are first-strike weapons. Any one of those submarines can launch 24 missiles simultaneously. Each of those missiles can contain as many as 17 independently targeted, maneuverable nuclear warheads. And each of those warheads can travel 7,000 nautical miles and supposedly hit within 300 feet of its predetermined target. If we fire them in opposite directions, we can span 14,000 nautical miles halfway around the world at the equator. This means we can take out 408 centers of human population, hitting each with a nuclear warhead 10 times as powerful as the bomb that incinerated Nagasaki ... and we have 22 of them.

If military strength were going to protect us, it seems obvious that wed have protection. We cannot survive a foreign policy based on the use of our military might or other means of controlling others forever.

We need our leaders to work together with other leaders of the world on behalf of all of the people of the world. We need to acknowledge that we are one world and we need them as much as they need us.

Julie Farnam


Momentum for peace best defense

To the Editor:

Our enemy lives within ourselves if we continue to look toward retaliation and retribution. I agree with The Observers appeal for calm and the reminder that we are not barbarians. I believe it is new strategies for peace we lack, and a momentum in that direction will ultimately be our best defense.

We must also defend ourselves against the tendency to racism. We read of the foreign student whose luggage was searched in Pendleton because it looked suspicious. Would my bags have been searched in the same way? Would there have been the same concern that the contents of my suitcase appeared to be threatening? We have a sad history of interning Japanese under similar circumstances. We must reflect on our mistakes and not repeat that history.

How can we consider taking out other countries? Is that not terrorism? Is that commitment to our ideals? Is that restraint?

Yes, the face of war has changed and the time has come for a new mindset. Our best response is to learn to love our enemies and be filled with compassion for all our brothers and sisters, in New York, around our country and outside every border of our nation.

Mary Rose Nichols


Oil industry prevails

To the Editor:

The House of Representatives passage of the so-called Energy Security Act, which mandates oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, is a glaring example of the tight grip the oil industry has over members of Congress.

Despite strong opposition from most Americans, the oil-rich House Republican leadership has handed a huge gift to Big Oil at the expense of Americas last great wilderness.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the oil likely to be recovered from the Arctic Refuge amounts to less than a six-month supply and that this oil wont even reach U.S. markets for another 10 years. Its clear that pressure from the oil industry, not common sense, has prevailed.

The coastal plain, the very area where drilling is proposed, is the biological heart of the Arctic NWR and is critical to the survival of an amazing array of wildlife including grizzly bears, polar bears, musk oxen and wolves. It is the essential calving grounds for the 130,000 strong Porcupine caribou herd which in turn is the staff of life for the native Gwichin people of Canada and Alaska. The intrusion of the oil industry into this important sanctuary must not be allowed.

The U.S. Senate is now considering the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Handing over the Arctic coastal plain to the oil industry is as unthinkable as the damming of the Grand Canyon for hydroelectric power or the tapping of Old Faithful for its geothermal energy. Just as we would not stand for the desecration of those national treasures, we also must not allow this crown jewel known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be sacrificed to oil industry profiteering.

Please write U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith today and ask him to oppose oil drilling in the Arctic NWR.

Sue Miller


Lets change system

To the Editor:

The Land Conservation and Development Commission has created a land-use planning system that has failed miserably.

In an attempt to preserve prime farmland, LCDC has placed 95-97 percent of all rural land into restrictive prime-land zones. This means that rocky land in Eastern Oregon is treated the same as the Willamette Valleys prime farmland.

Since urbanization follows the path of least resistance, and rural land is treated the same, Oregons prime farmland is being lost to development while less productive land is left useless.

Portland, Salem and Eugene are further encroaching onto the Willamette Valley floor while ridiculous LCDC rules outlaw rural living in Southern and Eastern Oregon.

We need to change this system so that prime land is preserved and other areas are able to promote the healthy rural lifestyles.

Carol Wallace


Ready to respond

To the Editor:

During this, our darkest hour in United States history, it is impressive to see our nation pulling together.

Over 10 years ago I and many other men and women from La Grande defended our countrys interests in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. As a scared 20-year-old young man I left my wife in Germany and headed for the Gulf. During that time I did not fully understand why our nation was going to war. Now as a 30-year-old husband, father of two, and professional soldier of 12 years, I am outraged by this attack on our nation.

Talking with my friend and colleague, Capt. Steve Manly, also from La Grande, he helped me realize that, as he put it, Larry, they would have killed you and your family just as easily as they killed those people on those four planes and in those buildings.

This made a cold wave of emotion shoot through my body, followed by hot anger. The way I see it now is that they did kill part of my family and part of every family in La Grande and our country. They attacked our homeland, invaded our security and took away so much innocence.

Last night I talked with my mother on the phone and tried to help her understand my feelings and allay her fears of the events to come, whatever that might be.

Let one thing be clear to all the citizens of La Grande, my friends and my family back in Oregon and Washington, your sons and daughters are ready and willing to do whatever our president demands of us.

U.S. Army Lt. Larry R. Carpenter

Clarksville, Tenn.

Question of a child

To the Editor:

A few years ago my daughter came home from school and wanted to know why they always had to say the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of class.

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, I called her to find out if she remembered having asked that. She said yes and explained why.

We dont allow prayer in school because the rights of those that want to dont seem to be as important as offending the rights of those who dont want to. A news report once said that the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance in school may be inappropriate for students from different countries.

Maybe its time we start offending a few people.

Chuck Sorweide

La Grande

Let public buy land

To the Editor:

I am upset with land-use regulations. My neighbor and I decided to sell our property jointly. He had 280 acres and I had 146 acres. Neither parcel had a house. Both were zoned for elk habitat.

After the land had been on the market for a month and a half, we had a buyer who wanted to buy our property and build a house on it for his family. But the state wildlife department stepped in and insisted that, because the area was zoned elk habitat, the only place a person could build a house was 300 feet away from the county road. That would put the home on a steep one-to-one incline making it expensive to build and a fire hazard for the family. When the buyer found that out, he backed out.

These regulations are unfair and dont make sense. If the public wants our land for elk habitat, the public should buy it. At the least, the landowners right to a dwelling site should come ahead of wildlife concerns. Furthermore, it was wrong to zone the land for elk habitat when there is no grazing or bedding on it for the elk there.

Fred Weitlauf


Rebuild trade center with 111 floors

To the Editor:

The Observer Friday in its editorial, Consider going smaller, suggested that Americans build a new World Trade Center by putting up three or four smaller buildings that would not be viewed as terrorist targets.

The substance of the Observers editorial was such a small thought for a great people and strong nation. It proposed an action that if you follow it long enough might even lead us to put the building underground. To me that would be equal to cowering in the dark, fearful of the wrath of an enemy.

I just dont know many people in the United States who are like that. I favor rebuilding the World Trade Center and I lean toward a much different idea.

The mayor of Los Angeles after being trapped in Washington by the airport shutdown had a press conference when he returned to California. He related something someone had told him on the airplane flight back to California:

When they rebuild the World Trade Center, I hope they build it one story taller.

Pat Larson

La Grande

We live in same house

To the Editor:

We received the following e-mail from our friends in Valencia, Spain, Javier Rodrigo and Ruth Martinez, whom we visited last spring:

We feel so much the disaster that has surprised everyone today. Please feel our pain, in the same as you are feeling it. We all live in the same house in this moment.

We cannot find words to express our solidarity to the American people, to our American friends.

For those who, like us, enjoy traveling and feel like we are citizens of the world, the date of today may remain in our memory for all our lives.

May the world find the right way.

We are praying today, especially for world peace. We will be happy to hear from you as soon as possible.

Jon and Julie Hickerson

La Grande

National defense top priority

To the Editor:

This is in regards to W.H. Oberteuffers letter in the Sept. 11 Observer.

How dare you! I am a very proud Navy wife. My husband is a part of the so-called war machine you so fiercely condemn. You want all our tax money to be spent on Social Security and education? I ask you this: what good will that do if we no longer have a country where that money can be spent?

Perhaps last weeks tragic events have made you wake up and realize that national defense is a top priority. I, for one, would hate to see what might happen if we didnt have the military force we currently have. I can also tell you first hand, its because of people like you that its not as powerful as it should be.

I will not place blame on either side of the aisle; however, military spending has been cut in recent years. Brave men and women who willingly swear to defend our nation are paid less than the federal poverty standard. Are you OK with this?

Did you also know that 75 percent of the enlisted ranks qualify for food stamps? These are people who are defending YOUR right to speak your mind.

When these brave men and women go into battle, defending this country, I hope you can live with yourself.

Kristine Abplanalp

Naval Air Station, North Island

San Diego

What good has come of this?

To the Editor:

On the local radio talk show recently we were asked two questions. One was about striking back and making more war. The other was, did any good come out of this event?

I would like to answer the second one.

I have heard of and seen on television so many people who are helping each other. It has brought out young people having car washes to earn money for the Red Cross.

Little school children are learning more about feelings and expressing their emotions. We have seen strong men cry, a thing that forever has been a sign of weakness.

I would guess more people went to church on Sunday than in a long, long time and more prayers have been offered all over the world.

It seems that when all else is hate and disaster and pain, all we have left to turn to for relief is God. Its not guns or stock markets or how we can fight back. It is only love of all people that can turn us around toward peace.

The nations of the world may be talking of war but the only real peace has to come inside each one of us and it comes from helping each other.

St. Francis said it best:

Where there is hate let me show love,

Where there is injury, pardon.

It is in giving that we receive.

Make me an instrument of peace.

The change will not be rapid. Perhaps as in the days of Moses it will take 40 years. Perhaps the present generation must die off so the future generations can change the world. But for now we have to say let there be peace on earth and let it begin inside me.

GeorgAnna Fuller

La Grande

Tap citizens as resource

To the Editor:

The administration and Congress would be missing the boat if they did not tap into the vast resources of our own citizens in controlling terrorism.

As expert crime fighters will agree, there are few crimes that do not have a witness. The same could be said for terrorism. There are few terrorists living in this country that do not, at some point in time, expose some peculiar activity to their neighbors that could lead to their exposure. Perhaps one citizens input would be meaningless, but cumulative reports from different persons on the same individual could result in grounds for arrest.

The role the government should take is training the public to report strange activities by individuals or groups to the proper authorities, informing them what to look for and developing an informative understandable message through all news sources.

Much like Smoky the Bear in symbolizing fire protection, some type of symbolic message could be developed that would reach all age groups.

More detailed written instructions and perhaps training sessions on reporting and observing could be directed toward certain vulnerable occupations and institutions. College professors, aviation instructors, airport employees, state motor vehicle departments, employees at large dams and power grid workers should be targeted.

I do not necessarily disagree with some of the indicated directions that the administration is taking in fighting terrorism. However, with probably thousands of terrorists already in this country willing and ready to commit other deadly acts, we need to take immediate steps to identify and root them out. I believe that our citizens, ranging from the highest-class white collar worker to our grade school students are going to have to be involved.

Harlan Scott


No easy decision for Bush

To the Editor:

I think Julie Farnam in her Sept. 17 letter in The Observer and the 1,500 marchers who paraded in Portland need to rethink their ideas and join the real world.

Perhaps they are too young to remember British Foreign Minister Neville Chamberlain with his umbrella who in 1938 failed so miserably in his attempts to appease Hitler and avoid World War II.

Three years later the Japanese envoys were in Washington, D.C., when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Now we have Slobodan Milosevic who, for all the death, carnage and misery he has caused, has the audacity and effrontery to demand that he be set free and that the United Nations and NATO do not have the legal right to arrest him and bring him to trial for war crimes.

No, Julie Farnam, and all the other pacifists, appeasement does not work. It never has and never will. If the Taliban or whoever is harboring the terrorists will not surrender them to the U.S., then they must assume and bear the consequence, terrible as it may be.

President Bush is not making this decision easily or lightly. This will be a gut-wrenching decision to make, but he will do whatever needs to be done and God bless President Bush and First Lady Laura and God bless America.

David Larson

La Grande

Get serious on fire prevention

To the Editor:

Both the editorial and the guest column in Sept. 8 Observer were right to the point though on different themes. We need to quit fooling around and get dead serious about preventing both urban and forest fires.

All that one has to do is to drive down the alleys of many of La Grandes streets (the 1400 block of Madison Avenue is an example) to see knee-high dry grass up against wooden structures and an assortment of trash that would put the city dump to shame. I would fault the editorial for suggesting the city hire an additional employee as a watchdog when La Grande already has people on the payroll charged with enforcing city laws.

I remember about a week or so ago in

The Observer remarks attributed to a high-ranking fire official regarding the deplorable conditions observed, but he was not going to take the time to issue cease-and-desist orders. Too busy waiting for the next fire, I guess.

If one is to drive to Pendleton on Interstate 84, one will see on the left a perfect example of what William Banzhaf was talking about in his guest column.

In places, the forest ground is covered with old, decaying lodgepole pine felled by a fire years ago and preserved by the Forest Service policy that assumed the wood would rot and become nutrients for new growth. The fire was years ago and all that has happened is the forest floor has been littered with fuel for the next fire.

Has this not been the observation of those who today are fighting the great fires of the West? Yes, Mr. Banzhaf speaks the truth. The Forest Service should listen and get busy.

David S. Arnott Sr.

(a La Grande property owner)


Dont punish bystanders

To the Editor:

About the Muslim faith and the practices of their extremists, the terrorists that made the recent attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.:

Let us compare them to the Christian extremists who blew up abortion clinics and advocated murdering doctors who didnt agree with them.

Neither of these groups represents the majority of the faiths to which they belong. Criminals need to be punished. Innocent bystanders should not be sacrificed by our government in order to punish extremists in the Middle East any more than we would do that in this country.

Ulee Yanok


Involved in long process

To the Editor:

Some people cannot seem to realize that the attacks on Washington, D.C., and New York City will not necessarily be isolated incidents. Or that Osama bin Laden is not a singular enemy. Many Americans are calling for retaliatory action, but they think that it will momentary.

After we nail bin Laden and his followers, our troops can come home and everything gets back to normal. Wrong.

Going after bin Laden and the followers and the governments that support them is only the beginning. It will not end there and it will never again be the same.

Osama bin Laden is only one of several such people in the world, people with no regard for human life, fanatics who care about nothing but the achievement of their goals, total destruction of everything they hate, namely people who hate everything they want and cant have. And it matters not to them that their actions guarantee their own destruction. Nothing matters to them except the achievement of their goals.

The world community must realize that terrorists, whatever country they come from, are the enemy of all human kind. Anyone who values human life must realize that united we stand and divided we fall, come what may in the years to come.

Ron R. Fischer


Tax rebate going to victims families

To the Editor:

Relative to Mr. Robert Bulls letter to the editor in support of President Bush and a strong defense published in The Observer on Sept. 15:

Right on. You would think that some writers of letters to the editor served on the O.J. Simpson jury. A stronger defense hopefully will enable us to live long enough to enjoy other government-supported benefits that were referred to by Bill Oberteuffer in his letter of Sept. 11 in which he said: I absolutely did not want more money spent on our war machine.

Well, Mr. Oberteuffer, I suggest you get your sling-shot oiled. Apparently those victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center wont need those benefits you mentioned, will they?

I hope the Fellowship of Reconciliation appreciates your generous donation. As for me, our $600 tax rebate will be given to the families of the victims.

Judith Lee


Feel proud, blood donors

To the Editor:

In response to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., Americans everywhere have flocked to their local American Red Cross blood donation station to help out in the only way they know how.

Many of our own Wallowa County residents can feel proud that they have done their share.

At our most recent blood drive on Sept. 5 we had an overwhelming turnout. One hundred and twelve donors came through the doors to give a part of themselves. Of those we had 105 productive units, a Wallowa County record, with 14 of the donors being first-timers.

Feel proud, donors, that your blood has been sent to New York to help the many thousands of injured people.

Those 112 people took time out of their everyday lives, having no idea that less than one week later their blood would be helping save the lives of those injured in the most horrific act of violence ever witnessed in America. It is this everyday act of kindness that helps save lives. One never knows when their family, friends, themselves or a complete stranger thousands of miles away will need a blood transfusion. The best way to ensure that blood will be available to whomever, whenever they need it, is to donate blood in times of peace.

We strongly encourage everyone who meets the eligibility requirements to watch for our next blood drive. There are typically three drives each year in Wallowa County and four in Union County. All drives are highly publicized and we welcome all donors, old and new. And to those who took time out of their lives on Sept. 5, thank you, not only from us but also from those whose lives you helped save.

Cindi Aschenbrenner

Wallow County Chapter of the American Red Cross Blood Drive


Retaliation brings more violence

To the Editor:

Reprisal, retribution and retaliation are words we have been hearing a lot since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

I am afraid that the easiest and most accessible emotional reaction to the events of that terrible day will only lead us to make matters worse. Rather than prevent further acts of this sort, we may increase the likelihood of another tragedy.

Consider the situation in Israel where they have been struggling with an ever-widening and ever more violent war against terrorists. The strategy of reprisal and retribution, directed against suspected Palestinian terrorists in the past few months, have not created a safer, more secure country.

On the contrary, more Israelis are being killed now than before Mr. Sharon and his administration were elected to lead on a platform of getting tough on terrorism. It seems that the more force and violence are used to solve the problem of attacks on civilian and military targets the more Palestinians are willing to volunteer for suicide bomb missions.

Anger and frustration are the natural first responses to an act of aggression. In many places and times throughout history these emotions have driven nations into wars that were ill-conceived and left their participants in shambles. The region of former Yugoslavia is a good recent example of the effects of blind nationalism and hatred fanned into military action.

From the outside it is easy to see the folly of this course. We have even committed troops to a force of peacekeepers in that situation because the member nations of NATO have had the wisdom to realize that conflicts of that sort could destabilize the entire continent and lead to a much broader war.

Now that we, ourselves, have come under attack, I hope we can move beyond our initial impulse to lash out and apply what we have learned by watching others succumb to calls for violence as a solution.

Peter Farnam


Safe and sound in Egypt

To the Editor:

I am a 1999 graduate of La Grande High School, enrolled at George Fox University in Newberg.

For those of you who dont know, I arrived in Egypt at the end of August to study in a program affiliated with the American University in Cairo.

There are 21 students, all from private American universities, in this program that focuses on learning Arabic and studying the social dynamics of the region.

I want to let you know I am safe and sound here in Egypt. Be sure that I am far from the violence in Israel and significantly more removed from the escalating tensions in Afghanistan. There is no immediate threat to Americans in the Middle East and no reason that I would return home before my pre-arranged December date.

I would like to caution that the events on the East Coast were not an attack by the Muslim faith nor Arab people.

It was an act of terrorism from a group or groups whose radical opinions do not reflect the demographics they come from.

I have seen sincere empathy in the eyes of Egyptians I encounter everyday. Their hospitality and warmth have made me feel very much at home.

Matt Gerber

Cairo, Egypt

Dont weaken the strong

To the Editor:

I am writing in rebuttal to Bill Oberteuffers Sept. 11 letter to the editor in which he shared his dissatisfaction with the way the government spent his money.

He was particularly opposed to spending more money for national defense. His reasoning was that since the world knew that we already had an obscene amount of defense capabilities, no one would wage war against the United States.

I thought for a few days about how best to express my opinion. I recently found a quote from Abraham Lincoln that sums up my sentiments very well: You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

Mrs. B. Summers


Health insurance benefits kids

To the Editor:

With the opening bell at school this month came a year filled with new possibilities. Unfortunately, many students may be at a serious disadvantage before they enter the classroom.

These children are uninsured. Without health care coverage, they most likely lack access to a personal doctor, check-ups and medical services that can keep them healthy.

The facts are clear. When children have no health insurance, they cannot take full advantage of classroom time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children who have no health care coverage are less likely to receive medical care, prescription medicines or dental and vision screenings.

Research from the states of Florida and Texas demonstrates that uninsured children are 25 percent more likely to miss school compared to the insured peers. Illness can lead to missed school days. Missed school days can lead to poor academic performance.

Fortunately, most uninsured children are eligible for little-or-no-cost health care coverage, and more than 4,500 children in Eastern Oregon could be covered. Parents need to take the first step and sign them up for the Childrens Health Insurance Program.

Children enrolled in CHIP may still get sick or injured, but with this coverage parents know theyre able to take their kids to the doctor and give them the care they need to stay healthy.

If children you know are uninsured, call Elinor Riley, 568-8055, or Melissa Over, 568-4832, outreach workers for CHIP.

They will provide information and assist eligible families with enrollment in the Oregon Health Plan and CHIP. They may also be reached at 962-3089.

Michele Misener

Vicki Hill Brown

Health Network for Rural Schools

La Grande

USPS should reconsider program

To the Editor:

I have written a letter to the local postmaster and encourage others to do the same if they have concerns about the Managed Service Point program.

We all received letters three weeks ago notifying us that bar codes would be placed near our mail boxes in order for the Postal Service to determine delivery times. The bar codes were placed last week.

My concerns include:

1. In light of recent postage rate increases and planned increases, how does the Postal Service justify the extra expense of the program?

2. I think it is an unreasonable expectation for the letter carriers to deliver mail within a specific hour.

Reasonable customers know that the volume of mail and the weather are significant factors determining time of delivery.

Customers also realize that the carrier has a great deal of responsibility sorting the mail for placement in the delivery van before they ever leave the post office with it. Volume certainly affects how long the sorting of mail and organizing of the van take.

Many people work during the day so the hour of delivery is of little concern as long as the mail arrives in the morning or in the afternoon as expected.

3. Hopefully, the data gathered will not be used as criteria in the carriers performance evaluations due to the volume and weather factors.

Also, if the mail is late, especially on rural routes, the customers are usually more concerned as to the well-being of the carrier than they are about their mail.

I have been very satisfied with postal service in La Grande and with the courtesy and professionalism demonstrated by those who deliver mail to my home.

I hope that the Postal Service reconsiders such a money-wasting program.

Marsha Armstrong

La Grande

We cannot ignore terrorisms threat

To the Editor:

Reading the article, Students demand the U.S. not go to war, reporting Lewis & Clark College students opposition to military action in response to the terrorist attack on the United States, brought to mind the student demonstrations of the 60s. I was a college student then, and I too was opposed to war, the war we were waging in Vietnam.

I was opposed to the war, that is, until I met refugees who fled Vietnam and heard their stories. I learned from those who had lived there that this war, however complex the history and mixed our motives might have been, was a war about freedom and oppression.

In the end we capitulated to the growing distaste of Americans to fight for freedom and against oppression. We reasoned that Vietnam was really just a small place. If we withdrew, we would lose little.

We were wrong. We lost our appreciation for and commitment to a value that transcends the price necessary to secure and protect it. We lost freedom and we gave in to oppression. We and the world were not made better by our retreat from that value. I was too young and naive to understand that in the 60s.

The war we are now engaged in is also about freedom and oppression. It is not a war that we have sought. It has come to us. If we ignore the threat, it will not go away. We will simply be paying blackmail to aggressors who have far larger goals in mind than the destruction of a few buildings and a symbolic statement. The threat will grow, and terrorism will rule. We must act to end terrorism.

We must not indiscriminately kill innocent people simply because innocent people have been killed. But we cannot flinch.

Freedom depends upon it.

Don Camp


Reexamine U.S. policy on Middle East

To the Editor:

I have seen several letters to the editor recently in which the writers have stated we must accept and support President Bush and his cowboy foreign policy. It would seem many readers have forgotten that dissent is not only allowed under the U.S. Constitution, but was seen as necessary by the founding fathers if our Republic was going to work.

I believe the United States needs to reexamine its foreign policy in light of the World Trade Center attack. I am not soft on terrorism, but again, it is important to remember that the other side sees themselves as partisans, not terrorists.

The United Nations has passed two resolutions (242 and 465) since 1967

requiring Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories it occupied following the Six Days War. Israel, with the backing of the United States, refuses to withdraw.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the United Nations immediately passed a similar resolution requiring Iraq to leave Kuwait. When Iraq failed to comply with the U.N. resolution, a United States- led coalition used force to make Iraq withdraw from Kuwait.

I am sure I am not the only person in the United States who sees the inconsistency in U.S. foreign policy. It is neither unpatriotic nor treasonous to point out this failing in our foreign policy. In fact, what constitutes treason (see Article III section 3) is specifically spelled out in the Constitution.

I would invite everyone reading this letter to fully investigate the history of the Middle East before we consider ourselves to be innocent victims.

There is blood on the hands of the United States and, while there is no excuse for the atrocity committed against the people of the United States, we need to hold our government accountable for its uneven treatment of the Middle Eastern people.

Jim Dew

La Grande

What about other targets?

To the Editor:

I think its interesting that in most everything Ive come across, the attention on halting terrorism has been on air travel security with limited references to water ports.

Theres been no mention of other targets such as dams (one destroyed in the upper reaches of the Columbia could render the World Trade Center small by comparison), oil, gas pipelines, rail, the Umatilla Depot, etc.

A myriad of opportunity it seems, and no public discussion of efforts to secure them from overt/covert attack. Am I missing something?

Dan Thompson


Put your differences on hold

To the Editor:

This is in regard to the scathing attacks some readers have made on Bill Oberteuffer during the past two weeks on this editorial page.

Mr. Oberteuffer is surely as mortified as any of us about what happened Sept. 11 in New York City.

When he wrote his letter about not spending as many of our tax dollars on the military (and spending more on social programs and education), I am sure he was as unprepared as the rest of the country was for the World Trade Center attack.

While there has never been a more obvious need for a strong U.S. military (and for increased overseas intelligence), I do not believe this is any reason to doubt that somebody who has strong feelings for his fellow American citizens should feel grief over the tragedies in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

A recurrent theme in the responses to Mr. Oberteuffer seems to be that people with political views similar to his are part of the problem.

In light of our current national situation, lets take a closer look. What immediately stands out is that Mr. Oberteuffer has political views which differ from those of the respondents to his letter.

So, they are calling him un-American? Un-patriotic? Good grief! Shouldnt we forget about petty political squabbles at a time like this? Our country has been attacked, and too many of us are so busy playing the blame game (or trying to see who is more patriotic than the next person) that we fail to focus on the big picture! Lets save the smaller, less important things for later. Otherwise we are simply being divisive.

I am writing to urge you to put your differences with others on hold (at least for a while) and to work together in helping our country heal.

John Evans Jr.

La Grande

We can learn from tragedy

To the Editor:

I wonder why it takes a tragedy like the attack on America to bring unity and patriotism and support for our president? Its wonderful how the country is pulling together.

I hope we as a nation will continue to pray for our president and advisers as they make difficult decisions.

People keep asking why God allowed it to happen.

First of all we have been given free agency and he wont take it away. Maybe it takes something like this to snap us to our senses and realize how blessed we are and how we need to have unity of purpose as a country as well as a deep feeling of allegiance to the powers that makes this a free country.

We need to always look at the flag as our wonderful symbol of freedom and remember the price that was paid for it. If we will continue this wonderful unity maybe the lives that were lost will not have been in vain.

Cristine Jons Martin

La Grande

Well done on city improvements

To the Editor:

I had the occasion this summer to have three teen-age grandchildren visit our home from out of town.

I was so impressed with our new skateboard park and the swimming pool that was available for their use at Pioneer Park.

The grandchildren spent most of their time at these facilities and had such a good time. I want to extend my thanks to Di Lyn Larsen-Hill, whom I know spent many hours on the skateboard park, and the city manager as well as Mayor Colleen Johnson and the city council for all of their efforts to accomplish the goal to provide our children these facilities.

I am well aware that projects such as these do not just happen. People have dedicated many hours of their time, skills and passion to bring them to fruition.

I say, well done to all who participated in these projects and thank you from my grandchildren.

Lorna Spain

La Grande

Letter writers engage in war

To the Editor:

For the second time this month, I find myself moved to publicly praise a letter by GeorgAnna Fuller, a woman I have never met.

And once again, the circumstances of her letters publication have an arresting twist. For when Ms. Fullers reminder that real peace has to come inside each one of us appeared in the Sept. 21 Observer, it stood beside a letter filled with rage.

The author of that angry letter, a very proud Navy wife, took offense at another readers denunciation of the war machine a machine whose working parts include the Navy.

Some who have read those letters may have sided with the angry wife, some with the angering critic. But if both positions hold peace the ultimate goal, neither can be reconciled with the famous prayer Ms. Fuller thoughtfully quoted.

Make me an instrument of peace does not mean Make me an instrument of war, and those who hate the military are not committed to the aspiration, Where there is hate, let me show (sow?) love.

From the standpoint of the well-known prayer, neither the angry letter nor the angering one advances the cause of peace, which, as Ms. Fuller says, comes from helping each other.

Neither partys letter seems to have been written in the spirit of compassionate assisting that she has in mind.

But let us hope that GeorgAnna Fullers letter has been read and reread and reread again, by the proud Navy wife and by the writer who heard the pre-echoes of killings-to-be.

Clinging to opposing views, they themselves are engaged in a war, well-meaning victims of two guises of anger. Should they choose to reconcile and resolve their conflict, perhaps in the pages of this newspaper, their triumph would demonstrate a possible means to spare us the countrys new war.

John Suydam

La Grande

Yield to emergency vehicles

To the Editor:

I just witnessed again something that has disturbed me about this community for years. I decided in light of recent events it was time to speak out. I am talking about the failure of motorists to yield to emergency vehicles.

I have seen a woman in a vehicle make a u-turn in front of an oncoming ambulance with its siren sounding and lights flashing.

I have watched as police cars, with lights flashing and sirens sounding, tried to maneuver around the cars ahead of them that kept driving rather than pull over and yield the way.

Today I watched as several cars continued on their merry way failing to yield to an oncoming police car, ambulance and fire truck, all with lights flashing and sirens sounding. Only three vehicles pulled over to the side of the road. Many, many more did not.

On a trip to Boise with my 14-year-old daughter we encountered a similar situation with a much better result. An ambulance was coming up behind us with siren sounding and lights flashing.

Every car on the road going in both directions pulled over to yield to the emergency vehicle.

My daughter and I were both in shock after having witnessed just the opposite many times in our own community.

Come on people, yield to those emergency vehicles. One day it may be your car accident, home fire or heart attack they are trying to get to. The only people that should be in a hurry when an emergency vehicle is coming are the drivers of the emergency vehicles.

Sandra Leavitt

La Grande