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The USA’s sucking chest wound

Dear Editors,

“Invading Iraq was a mistake — a strategic blunder, a step, a major step in the wrong direction for winning the war on terror.”

– Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark, September 2006

Both democrats and republicans running for office this year need to be asked the hard questions. Every forum for candidates running for every office this fall ought to begin with these questions: Do you believe the war in Iraq was a mistake? How is it affecting our community? How do you think we should pay for the war? Local republican candidates are solidly behind the Bush Cheney team. None seem willing to take back their party from the nuts on the far right, and none appear to admit that the war in Iraq is this nation’s sucking chest wound. For moderate Republicans, Independents and Democrats, there are good alternatives to circling the drain and sticking with the Republican plan. If you believe that the War in Iraq was a huge mistake, that we are now baby-sitting a civil war and have no exit strategy, that the cost of $250 million a day, 2,677 killed and nearly 20,000 wounded (so far) is too much – vote for Democrats.

If you are appalled at the fiscal irresponsibility of this administration and think that shifting the burden of paying for the war to our children rather than taxing the top 1 percent of American taxpayers is disgraceful – vote for Democrats. If you believe that the Bush Administration set the conditions for civil war in Iraq, increased global terrorism, made a frontal assault on our constitutional values, and allowed the U.S. military to take its focus off of enemy No. 1: Bin Laden – vote for Democrats. If you believe that global warming is a serious problem and that the long term occupation of the Middle East is not the solution to our energy problem – vote for Democrats. If you don’t go to the farmers market on Saturday morning fearing that some so called “Islamic fascist” is going to put poison in your coffee or sprinkle anthrax on your fresh vegetables; if you fear hate radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannitty more than hard-working Mexican immigrants or women that wear scarves; if you find this president and his polices a total embarrassment to Americans, their values and institutions and want to change the course of the country, vote for the Democrats in  November.

The cost in blood and treasure for the war in Iraq will affect us for generations to come. We owe it to those we send in harm’s way, to talk about the war, debate it and ultimately to elect leaders who have the moral courage to steer a new and better course for the nation.

– James Callard, via e-mail

The administration’s next scam

Letter to the editors:

You probably look forward to writing comments to some federal agency over yet another environmental shenanigan about as much as wanting to pay your fair share of the Iraq War on your next tax return. I can empathize. Nevertheless, I’m going to plead for your writing time – but not your money.

You likely have your favorite Bush Administration environmental horror story; keep it in mind. Now, through a well-packaged con called “Cooperative Conservation,” (Remember “Clear Skies Initiative?”) government officials are visiting locations around the country seeking answers to five questions about how the feds can “improve science” and better relate to states, tribes and individual landowners in practicing conservation. Sounds great, huh? It isn’t.

It isn’t “the public” they want to hear from. This isn’t about cooperation. Or conservation of anything but profits. Every organized, resource-dependent interest with a lobbyist in Washington is behind this scam. The plan from the get-go has been to load comments with a call for the “rights” of special interests to what is our national heritage and call their requests “public comment.” Then, officials will take what is said back to Washington and use the comments as an excuse for Congress to make environmental justice a thing of the past.

These interests are organized! The meetings are being held in Neocon hotbeds, like Colorado Springs, and headquarters for mining and timbering industries, places far away from state capitals or Indian reservations, where the people officials profess they want to hear from live and work. Oh, and meetings are held at times like 1 p.m. Who’s going to be there?

Have no doubt this is a slick operation. Federal agency websites advertise successful “cooperative conservation” ventures, failing to tell you these efforts began more than a decade ago because of the very laws now in jeopardy. Environmental laws have been the only foundation on which industries have actually produced creative ways to both do business and protect the environment  Take away the laws and why bother to protect anything. Get the picture?

No need to attend a staged performance. About six weeks ago, enough people challenged the Department of Interior regarding this process that it agreed to accept written comments from people unable to attend meetings. Righteous of them, don’t you think? But we have to take advantage.

Please, remember your favorite horror story about air pollution, budget cuts, doctoring of scientific documents, global warming, industry hacks as political appointees,  intimidation of federal employees, lack of species protection, rollbacks of roadless areas, and send written comments to these five questions:  

-How can the federal government enhance wildlife habitat, species protection and other conservation outcomes through regulatory and voluntary conservation programs?

-How can the federal government enhance cooperation among federal agencies and with states, tribes and local communities in the application of environmental protection and conservation laws?

-How can the federal government work with states, tribes and other public- and private-sector partners to improve science used in environmental protection and conservation?

-How can the federal government work cooperatively with businesses and landowners to protect the environment and promote conservation?

-How can the federal government better respect the interests of people with ownership in land, water and other natural resources?

Send comments by Sept. 30 to: Beth Duff at Beth_Duff@ios.doi.gov  The future thanks you.

– Nancy Jacques, Durango

Kind of spot on


Your rant about ATVs was spot on. I oftentimes feel the same way when I’m Jeeping about mountain bikers cutting switchbacks and wearing tee shirts saying, “TO USE YOUR BRAKES IS TO ADMIT DEFEAT.” However, the situation is going to get worse as trails are closed to OHVs, thanks to environmentalists who refuse to compromise or to look at both sides of the issue. Fun Center and Handlebars are not going to say, “Gee, they’re closing trails, maybe we should cut back on selling ATVs as there’s no place to ride them.”

– Think about it, Dennis Pierce, Durango

Prepared for the position

Letter to the Editors, I am writing to say I support Ellen Roberts on her bid for state representative for the 39th District of the great state of Colorado. I have known Ellen for the past 10 years. I first met Ellen when my brother and I contacted her to settle our mother’s estate. We found Ellen to be very knowledgeable and able as well as very thorough. I feel when Ellen does a job, she does it well. I know Ellen loves Colorado and especially S.W. Colorado and will work for all of us in the 59th District.

Ellen Roberts has attended numerous meetings of the House of Representatives in Denver preparing herself for this position. I know Ellen can and will do a great job for us. Please vote for Ellen Roberts in the November election.

– J. Pat Greer, Hesperus