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Going home

Thank you so much for your lead story on Daniel Ellsberg [Feb. 13]. The article was highly informative and perfectly timed to coincide with the statewide demonstration that was held in Palmer Park. Daniel Ellsberg is truly a man of action in our times. I can't help but respect someone who has been demonstrating on behalf of his beliefs for the last three decades. If only more of us were willing to put ourselves on the front line and openly protest without fear of "being different."

The real reason I loved the article is personal, though. Daniel Ellsberg has lived in my childhood home in the East Bay since 1975. The color photo on page 16 shows Mr. Ellsberg sitting at a desk in the home that I so fondly remember. You can't go home again, but you can always cherish the memories.

-- Martha Rosenau

Crystal Park

It took several minutes

Just days ago George W. Bush went public with a "blue chip" report that he claimed vindicated his tax cut for the rich. Well, it did take several minutes, but it was proven almost immediately, that in fact no such report existed.

That means one of two things: 1) Bush knew there was no report and went ahead with the claim anyway -- that makes him a baldfaced liar, or 2) he didn't know and went ahead in good faith. In which case he has some real knuckleheads working for him and is at least irresponsible and at worst incompetent.

These are some heavy conclusions to draw when the administration is making daily claims about the need for war. If there was a "mix-up" with the economic report, where is the next "mix-up" going to surface?

-- Brent Koleno

Colorado Springs

See you in Boulder

I will begin this by saying we should not rush to war. We should however be prepared. In the Indy's coverage of the anti-war protest it appears that all of the protesters were innocents with only the most peaceful intents in their hearts. I find this disingenuous. While I won't go as far as to speculate that some people brought their children with them to use as shields, it should not have been presumed that the police force would hesitate using crowd control tactics to contain an unruly mob.

How did the protesters get here in the first place? Did they ride a bicycle from up north or across town? Did they take the bus? Did they carpool as to make as little of an impact on our precious petroleum supplies? I doubt it.

I will make this clear: I will not engage in self-loathing because I exist and use up air and other resources (although I am sure some of you will begrudge me this after this letter). My minivan is the most economical way to get around with my four children. Yes, I have bred, much to the chagrin of others. It is not my SUV that has caused the deaths of thousands of Iraqi children. It is the repressive regime of a megalomaniac madman whose only ambition is to build grand palaces with slave labor in his name and to slather his image across the country.

You should protest. Don't forget to protest in Iraq as well, as that is where the problems lie. Then, when you come home you can thank one of our soldiers or veterans for the freedoms that allow you to whine about our government.

One more point to ponder if you will: This is a "conservative right-wing Christian" city in the view of many people. How about we have a pro-war rally in Boulder and see how that police department reacts to the lynch mob that gathers around those protesters? Do you think that would be allowed? How much peace will those peaceful people show?

-- Mitchell Andrews

Colorado Springs

Price of a Turkey

I'm not always good at balancing my checkbook, but a $240 expense is one I would remember. With a $26 billion price tag it will cost you (and me) about $240 to get a Turkey! And it won't be for Thanksgiving either.

Simple math shows that every American household will have an obligation to pay Turkey this amount in new foreign aid. This is so they will join the "Coalition of the Willing" and let us use their country to fight Iraq. I'm sure more countries will be willing to base our troops in the future when they see the benefit such action will provide them.

-- Will Washburn

Colorado Springs

Just skipped out

We obviously have a president who is obsessed with waging war with Iraq and placing our armed forces in harm's way. Yet this is the same person who never did completely fulfill his military obligations in the Texas National Guard during the Vietnam War. According to the Boston Globe, which traced Bush's military experience in the National Guard, he never did serve a full stint. There is no record of his reporting at drills during 1972-1973. He apparently just skipped out, and failed to report to his unit for a year and a half.

If this report is true -- and Bush did not dispute its authenticity during his campaign for the presidency in 2000 -- it is difficult to understand how he can justify his "patriotic" clamor about the war with Iraq.

-- George Lowis

Colorado Springs

Into the sunset

That Marlboro Man, he's something else, isn't he? President George (Dubious Dubya) Bush has:

Single-handedly disengaged himself from the North Koreans in a series of statements and political actions amounting to diplomatic suicide, leading us to the brink of nuclear disaster.

Stated, "The time has come to complete the unfinished business of a decade ago and oust Saddam Hussein," and "This man tried to kill my dad." And he wants to go ahead without popular support for this Western-style family vendetta (land, oil and power grab).

In the midst of global crisis, become the first president in my recollection to publicly denounce affirmative action programs. Politics aside, how does my president, the "leader of the free world," have time to join this battle? In public! OK, hmmm, I know! Let's take time from my "War on Terrorism" and "axis of evil" to file a brief against the University of Michigan's attempts to right the wrongs of centuries of oppression, during Black History Month! Yeah, that's it! And, lets attend Dr. King's celebration!? Yeee-hawww, we'll learn 'em! The nerve!

-- N. Villanueva

Colorado Springs

As Christ would have it

As Benedictines, Benet Hill Monastery is part of the oldest religious order in the Roman Catholic Church. We are alarmed by the U.S. government's steady movement toward an unprecedented pre-emptive attack against the people of Iraq.

Born in late antiquity when marauding armies made all civilization vulnerable to violence, Benedictines adopted the Latin word "Pax" (peace) as their motto. The central teaching in our 1,500-year-old Rule of Benedict is that everyone is to be welcomed as a blessing and treated as Christ. From that stance of reverence for the other, we state our opposition to a military attack on Iraq for the following reasons:

A military attack against a densely populated country, already decimated by war and economic sanctions, will put millions of vulnerable civilians at risk of death and disease;

The threatened military attack would follow over a decade of repressive sanctions that have already killed millions of innocent Iraqis, many of them children;

A military attack will increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks against the United States both by giving immediate incentive to existing terrorist cells and by drawing more resentful and desperate young people of Islamic nations towards terrorist ideology;

A military attack will further divert attention and resources from solving our domestic economic problems, which threaten millions of American families;

A military attack would put at risk the military men and women in the united States.

We also recognize that Saddam Hussein's threats must be taken seriously. We realize that he used chemical weapons against his own people in the 1980s. We believe that United Nations diplomacy must be used to resolve this ongoing problem; threats to attack serve only to destabilize the situation and make more likely the use of any weapons Iraq may have.

One of the reasons given by the Bush administration for going to war is that, as Americans, we must refuse to live in fear. As people of faith, we know that fear is a spiritual problem. Fear can only be overcome by confronting fear itself, not by eradicating every new object of fear.

Some of us Benedictines oppose all war as immoral, but all of us oppose this particular war as immoral. As we gather each day for prayer in our monasteries, we pledge to join together in praying that peace will prevail.

-- Sister Rose Ann Barmann, Prioress

Benet Hill Monastery

Colorado Springs

Sing out against the drug war

Colorado Springs is very fortunate to have a progressive newspaper like the Independent, which does not hesitate to publish timely articles about controversial issues.

This does help keep political discussions ongoing and out in the open. Your recent article about the inmate who died of a drug overdose in the women's correctional facility ("Death Behind Bars," Jan. 16) was very informative and thought provoking.

The Southern Chapter of Colorado CURE, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, is sponsoring a concert, on Friday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church at 20 E. Saint Vrain St. The concert will feature human rights and social justice activist, singer/songwriter Brad Carter, who is very outspoken against the War on Drugs. (For more information, call 749-2145.)

Colorado CURE members will speak on the impact of incarceration on the families of inmates, especially children. When a parent is incarcerated, the children are much more likely to go to prison themselves. CURE members also see prisons as self-perpetuating and do not believe that the rise in the number of people incarcerated makes for a safer world. They are concerned that money for all state budgets has been cut except for the prison budget, which has been expanded by 12 percent.

New Mexico, Arizona, California and Michigan have all made real changes to the way drug offenders are handled. According to information on the Colorado DOC Web site, 20 percent of male and 32 percent of female inmates are there for drug-related charges. One hundred and thirty-one are there for marijuana possession.

In light of the budget constraints, why are we spending over $2 million on such minor offenses as possession of a drug that can be used for medicinal purposes -- in a state where voters have approved it legal for that purpose?

-- Elena Bost

Colorado CURE

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