April 18, 2003 11:00 pm

Stockade fits budget

To the Editor:

I watched with dismay the coverage on TV of the Portland peace marchers. It was not a peace march. It was civil disobedience.

The march was in unauthorized areas during heavy traffic hours, on freeway ramps, on freeways, halting and backing up traffic for miles. There could have been accidents with bodily injury or fatalities.

To stem the freeway march took hundreds of police with cars and motorcycles.

Among the peace marchers could be seen those long-haired, scraggly bearded baby-boomer, draft-dodging, flag burners of the Vietnam era and their baggy-pants kids carrying the American flag upside-down, trampling the flag and desecrating it.

They tore down street signs and assaulted police officers, striking and injuring an officer with a crowbar. That's a felony.

Are these peaceful? When some come with crowbars, they intend to do bodily harm. But what did Portland do? Those that were detained were released because Portland's budget did not provide for detaining them.

Did the budget provide for the vast police and all their vehicles coverage through the night? I think not, but a few fire engines hosing down those marchers would have cleared those freeways in short order. And since many of the marchers intended to stay the night, a razor-wired stockade in a remote area would have served the budget.

My father, brother and I all served in the Navy and my sister was a riveter in an aircraft factory during World War II. I was in the Navy for 31 years. My oldest son was a Marine in Vietnam and Puerto Rico. There is no doubt where my sentiments lie and where they do not. Three cheers for our armed forces in Iraq and may they serve with honor to the American flag.

Cecil E. Mecham


Punishment not severe

To the Editor:

It seems to me that in Union County crime does pay.

If you start a meth lab within 1,000 feet of a grade school and where many young children walk within 15 feet of the lab every day, not to mention the six or seven school buses full of children that drive by your house every day, twice a day.

And you have small children of your own living in the house where you have your lab, not to mention all of your neighbors and their children.

Does that lab present a risk to all of these children and should you be punished in a manner appropriate to the risk you have placed all of these people?

Apparently not in our community.

Here you get a slap on the wrist of 22 days (time served) in jail and get to go on with your life with all the proceeds from your lab.

What is wrong with this picture?

I guess crime does pay.

Timothy H. Jederberg

La Grande

Treated right in jail

To the Editor:

I am writing this to convey a word of thanks and to show my appreciation to the Union County Sheriff's Department staff that operate the jail facility. I recently completed a 120-day sentence there for a charge of probation violation.

While there I was attended to by a highly skilled medical staff who met my needs quickly and completely on every occasion. The food in the jail far exceeds in quality and quantity that of any other facility I've been unfortunate enough to visit. I would also point out that the building itself is kept clean and disinfected at all times.

But the most important quality the Union County Jail offers its inmates is the guards. Those people not only see to every inmate's needs, they do it in a most outstanding fashion. No matter what charge an inmate is there on, everyone is always treated with dignity and respect.

At a time when public morals and common courtesy seem to be at an all-time low in our society, it's nice to have people who are in control of others acting with compassion toward their fellow man.

Keep up the good work.

Doug Clinkenbeard

La Grande

Clapping bloody hands

To the Editor:

Are the war protesters so blind that they can't see what they are doing? Or is it as a friend suggested, that they just don't give a damn?

Their daily rhetoric only serves to give Saddam comfort, and strengthens his resolve to continue to defy the world and to continue his murderous ways.

War is a terrible thing. I don't want war, but I also do not want to live under the threat of Saddam Hussein and his cabinet of sadistic sons of Satan.

To continue to call for an end to the war and a withdrawal of coalition forces is to give Saddam reason to stay the course. To turn tail and run would prove to the world that the United States is indeed a paper tiger with false teeth and a backbone made of gelatin.

America would no longer be a leading world power, but would be ridiculed and scorned. Can't the protesters see this? Are they being led by a pro-Saddam faction bent on demoralizing our troops?

The least these protesters could do would be to shut up and stay home. Our military men and women are presently giving their lives to ensure that the U.S. will be a safer place .

The war will be won by coalition forces at a cost of many lives. Our military personnel deserve and need the support of the folks back home. The protesters will be indirectly responsible for the loss of lives in our military as well as innocent civilians.

Do they truly want this? With every demonstration, Saddam Hussein is clapping his bloody hands.

J. Winter Wright


Paying later for Iraq war

To the Editor:

We've been hearing a lot of French-bashing lately and I think that those who engage in this are using some selective memory in their selection of history.

First, I'm no fan of the French. I think they are overly pompous and that they believe they have a larger importance in the world than is justified.

They don't seem to have realized that they haven't been a major influence in the world for the past 50 years and still think that French is the universal language.

However, this sentiment about them "owing us" for saving them in World Wars I and II is definitely selective memory about history.

The assistance that we gave them in the 20th century could (and probably should) be viewed as our payment of an earlier debt to them.

Let's not forget that if it wasn't for their help in 1776 and 1812, the words of "America the Beautiful" would not have been written and we'd still be singing "God Save the Queen" to that tune. So, we should probably consider France and the U.S. as even concerning historical debts.

Also, some have justified the Iraq war because it will help our economy.

Let's look at the history there, as well. The last war that actually boosted our economy was World War II.

Here are some important differences between then and now. Before WW II, our trade deficit was in the black (we sold more goods to the world than we bought from them) while today that is reversed.

Also, President Roosevelt was smart enough to realize and point out that a war costs money and we have to pay for it. He asked for and got a tax increase to pay for the war.

Bush is doing the opposite — oh we'll pay for his war, just later and less honestly.

Tim Hoffnagle

La Grande

Down a slippery slope

To the Editor:

My heart goes out to all those placed in

harm's way by the United States' current administration. As we prosecute this preventative war both in Iraq and at home, I am reminded of the three slogans from George Orwell's "1984."

The first slogan is "War is Peace." One of the primary rationales for attacking Iraq has been to stop them before they can harm us. In other words, wage war to ensure peace. For this rationale to work, Iraq, a country that has difficulty feeding its own citizens, must be a threat to the United States.

Also, once we go down this path, this same rationale can be used to attack anyone we perceive as a threat and can even be used by others against us. This preventative war is an ill-conceived idea that places us on a slippery slope to who knows where.

The second slogan is "Ignorance is Strength." This slogan has been manifested in letters to the editor and in editorials in some newspapers. In other words, our leaders know best and we should all close ranks, keep quiet, and follow them.

In a democracy this is a very dangerous path. It is an obligation of each of us, as citizens, to ask the hard questions and expect honest answers. We, the people, must hold our leaders accountable for their actions, especially when the stakes are so high. To blindly follow our leaders will lead us into tragedy.

And, the third slogan, which has yet to be fully realized here at home, is "Freedom is Slavery."

Harold M. Black


No plan in place to fight fires

To the Editor:

Regarding the forest fire fighting editorial in the March 10 Observer:

Didn't the Yellowstone fires teach these people anything? All those scientific experts out there have had a good 13 years to study and change policy. Yet here we are, with no plan in place and no money.

How do these people get to hold government-paid jobs for so long if they can't work out the logistics?

Oh, wait! We're banking on tourism now, right? We don't want to utilize our natural resources for working industries. We're far better off being dependent on other entities for those.

Oh, wait! We're not faring so well with OPEC either. Maybe it's high time the United States started taking care of and utilizing responsibly our own lands, resources, and people.

But we probably need to get a few good experts first!

Catherine Hefferan-Hays

La Grande

Pray for our troops, others

To the Editor:

I don't like war, but I support President Bush and I feel we are doing the right thing.

I remember vividly in 1939 when Germany was fighting England and France, my dad, who was a World War I veteran, kept saying, "We need to go now, before it spreads world wide and then we have to go in." That is just what happened and it was a long, hard fight.

As for the peace marchers, as a friend says her mother told her, "what you are doing speaks so loud I can't hear what you are saying."

Some of these people are sincere, but when in the name of peace they destroy property, block traffic, march without permit or destination, and assault police officers, how can they call it a peace rally?

I thank the many people who are having peaceful rallies, supporting our country and our troops. We need to pray for our troops, the Iraqi people, our government and the marchers.

Loree Leonard

Island City