Japan targeted U.S. military base; U.S. hit Japanese cities
Re Aug. 22 letter, “Atomic bombs were reasonable response to Pearl Harbor”: I find it puzzling that William Offenbacker completely misunderstood the initial Aug. 19 letter [by Jim Murphy] (“Bombing of cities during war cannot be justified morally”) that he was responding to and criticizing.
To summarize, the Japanese initially attacked a U.S. military base, and the (eventual) response of the United States was the indiscriminate murder of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians through the bombing of several large cities throughout Japan. The distinction being that the U.S. response to an attack on one of its military installations was a morally reprehensible decision to deliberately target millions of innocent Japanese civilians, not an equivalent military attack on a Japanese military installation.
I hope that other readers were not as confused by that not-so-subtle distinction. To rationalize the barbarous murder of innocent civilians as a response to an actual wartime attack, focused specifically on the U.S. military (Japan was at war, and they attacked the United States on the Pearl Harbor Naval base as U.S. forces were effectively cutting off Japan’s resources) is wrong and morally bankrupt.
Medicare plan would start generational war
After reading your Aug. 19 coverage of the back and forth between the Obama and Romney campaigns on Medicare, I am left to wonder: If the Romney-Ryan plan for Medicare is so benign, why the constant assurances from them that those of us over 55 should avert our eyes from the plan since it will not apply to us?
This approach, in combination with the overwhelming support of Republicans in Congress for a much different system, causes one to suspect that their plan is not so harmless. Republicans frequently charge that the president is encouraging class warfare. This is a curious accusation from a group that (1) appears to have exerted enough influence in Washington to have already won the class war, and (2), is openly encouraging those of us over 55 to enlist in a generational war against our children.
The plan would have us reserve traditional Medicare for ourselves, while we bequeath an inferior, more costly plan to our children. The Republicans would have us be as greedy as many of them are. Are we really that selfish? Are the children of the “Greatest Generation” poised to be remembered as the greediest generation?
This country needs an honest, mature debate about the future of Medicare. But the starting point for this conversation should not be the Republican default position that we rush to a voucher system that enriches private insurance companies. Medicare is so valued that many Americans look with great anticipation to the time when they are eligible.
Why not begin the debate on the future of Medicare with the goal of keeping what we have, and exploring what it will take to leave our children something we can be proud of — a plan as highly regarded as what was left to us by those who came before.
Arts are too important to take for granted
Two Saturdays ago, my husband and I met with our Glen friends for a potluck dinner and singing. Just singing old songs together. Wonderful.
Sunday afternoon, we met friends at the Albany German Club for their last outdoor picnic. Everyone was listening to the German music and dancing to the polkas and waltzes. Invigorating.
Crossing over the Scotia bridge later Sunday night, we spied a large crowd gathered at the nearby amphitheater for the latest free summer event. People listening to music together. Inspiring.
Monday night we were at the Octavos’ summer sing and ice cream event. Awesome. All these were situations where people shared a love of music, and maybe talked and laughed together.
Two thoughts came to me thinking about these community events. First, with much of the media, and television and radio personalities spewing hatred, most of us need to find some peace in the activities involving community and the arts. Community supports us. Art touches us. We need these things in our hectic, grinding world, with people shouting aloud their opinions and disagreements.
Second, with all the cuts threatened in budgets — from school, to state and national budgets — where is the money to support music education and visual art programs for our children? They are not an add-on to our lives, they are essential.
With the emphasis on testing and more testing in school, will there be time or money to teach our children the joy of the arts? For humans, the arts soothe away the harsh edges of living and help us use creative areas of our busy brains.
What do we bequeath to the next generation? Will they be able to come together and share an evening of soul-refreshing, hope-giving singing? I hope so — it is wonderful.
Water too precious a resource to gamble with
Resources for our planet are not endless, or inexhaustible, particularly water, which we are over 90 percent composed of. So where is the governor’s lack of understanding on this subject?
Hydrofracking has already produced a huge mess in Pennsylvania, which all the “promises” in the world to “fix” have not done so. We are all neighbors. When will we, as a world, truly comprehend how small and dependent upon each other this world is?
Our grandparents may not have had all of the scientific discoveries that we have now at hand, but as farmers, then and now, they surely understood that much!
Families and individuals have fought and died for water rights. Is this what the governor is looking to bring to New York, with even a possible consideration of allowing these companies to drill in our state?
Is he misinformed (as our presidents have been by their own experts in wartime), uninformed, or simply uncaring? Which is it?
Mary Ann Schweikert
Jobs the big attraction for illegal immigrants
In order to fully confront the issue of illegal immigration once and for all, we must ask one very important question: Who are the employers who hire illegal immigrants, and why do they hire them?
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