U.S. needs to put an end to drone attacks
The CIA drone attack that killed an American and an Italian humanitarian worker (held hostage) made headlines in our news. This killing revealed the ugly truth that the CIA does not know who they are killing in drone attacks.
While this tragic killing received momentary and surface reflection, the hundreds and thousands of civilian deaths documented by several human rights and research groups are seldom acknowledged, and the killings are dismissed as collateral damage in war.
The death of Grandma Bibi, blown to pieces by a drone in front of her grandchildren as she picked vegetables for a holiday meal, was documented by Amnesty International with evidence on the ground and witness accounts. The U.S. government has never acknowledged her death and it continues to claim militants were killed.
Drone killings are assassinations of people who live in countries where there is no declaration of war. Such killings are a violation of international law and our own Constitution, which guarantees due process.
Drone killings do not decrease violence, but they do increase anti-American hostility and serve to recruit angry people to extremism. The number of violent attacks increases in areas where there have been CIA drone attacks.
There is little or no serious reflection about facts on the ground, the true consequences of drone attacks, or the militarization of the world by U.S. government agencies, government officials and our representatives. Strength is weighed by military might, and the technology to kill safely from a distance is seen as progress.
Drone attacks are counter-productive, illegal and immoral. All lives matter. Stop drone killings.
The writer is a member of Grannies for Peace.
Tests no way to judge teacher competency
Re: April 29 article, “Hochul defends judging teachers by test scores”: As a retired teacher with 25 years of experience in Schenectady’s middle schools, I can tell you that this is a wrong way to judge teacher competence.
In a city school district, you do not have a stable school population. Children are moved in and out for various reasons. Some bounce between living with a mom and a dad separately — attending schools possibly in the same district, but not the same schools. Others transfer into the district a month, a week — or even a day before testing begins. This means their test scores are counted exactly the same as the student who has been in their seat since the first day of school.
Spotty attendance is a huge problem with many students, and that is something over which no teacher has control.
Our governor and his lieutenant governor have made their choices clear. They are against public education and will do anything and everything to undermine it. They are totally for charter schools — even though the records of those schools, in many cases, have been spotty. Teacher turnover in those schools is notoriously bad. Hochul says: “We are representing the children, no one else.” I ask, which children? Charter schools have no obligation to teach the square pegs who do not fit into round holes. The public schools do.
I would ask that our governor and lieutenant governor visit one inner city elementary school, one middle school, one high school. Pick one class in each building — any class — and ask a guidance counselor for a rundown on the backgrounds of the students in that one class.
After having an eye-opening experience (which I am positive it would be), then they should decide whether teachers who work up to task each day in the field of education should be punished for their choice of a career. And make no doubt about it, what they are handing out is punishment.
Let Mideast solve its own internal conflicts
I know that what is going on in Israel and with the Palestinians is not an easy fix. This problem has been around for thousands of years, moreso as of current times. All of these people are under the umbrella of Abraham. There is a large number of Arabs living in Israel and they are Israelis. They all live together in peace.
Now take Iran, which says “Death to Israel. Let’s wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.” This is not a good saying. They also teach their children to say, “Death to Israel.” This is not easy for the people of Israel to live with. You can give money to some people, and after awhile the money is gone and living conditions are not any better. Give other people money and in a short period of time, you see great improvement in their lifestyles.
I say let these people figure it out for themselves if they can. Remember, the feud has been going on long before we came in the picture. There is an old saying, “Never judge someone until you have walked in their moccasins for a while.” At best, solving the above problem won’t be easy. I hope it works out for all concerned.
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Categories: Letters to the Editor