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Blips On History's Radar Screen
Remember the domino theory? You should. About thirty years ago 58,219 Americans died because of that theory along with 1 million Vietnamese. This theory speculated that if one key nation in a region came under communist control, other nations in that region could follow. Vietnam was that key nation. The Vietnam War was, therefore, according to this theory, crucially important.
If we failed in Vietnam, if the communists won, then all of Indochina would fall into communists' hands. This, in turn, would threaten all of southeast Asia. And this would put at risk Japan, Formosa, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. You get the idea. If Vietnam fell, we would all be speaking Chinese or Russian in no time at all.
Well, we lost, whether through military ineptitude or because of the antiwar movement at home doesn't matter. We lost. Three "dominoes" fell: South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, but the rest of the world, including the United States, remained remarkably unaffected. (Ironically, in 1991 Russia abandoned communism. It is now a democratic federation. And in 1993 Cambodia became a democracy.)
Now with three decades of hindsight we can look back and ask: Was it worth the cost? Well, it depends on whom you ask. Ask the tens of thousands of surviving mothers of those dead American soldiers. Ask the hundreds of thousands of surviving Viennese mothers. Ask the blind and maimed. Ask the amputees and horribly disfigured.
Ask the marine who on a surveillance patrol fired a RPG into a suspicious hut only to find the splattered remains of women and children. For however long that Marine lives, and for so many others, the war will never be more than 15 minutes away. For all these the answer is no. It was not worth the cost.
Ask the same question to a high school or college student: Was it worth the cost? I suspect that most would be hard pressed to find Vietnam on a map, but others may have a sketchy idea of the war. For these young people and for their future children, a war 7,000 miles from home was not worth the cost whatever they imagine that cost to be.
Fast forward to 1991, Gulf War I. After repeatedly warning Kuwait to stop slant drilling into Iraq's oil fields, Sadism Hussein made plans to invade Kuwait. He disclosed his intentions to our ambassador and, meeting no objection, invaded Kuwait. Why our ambassador expressed no objection and why we reacted as we did is a matter of controversy which here must be passed over. We invaded and the rest is history. Shock and awe make for terrific TV, but it devastated Iraq and killed 100,000 of their soldiers. We lost 148 servicemen.
Skip ahead to 2003, Gulf War II, which is still smoldering. Iraqi infrastructure was dealt the coup de tat: electricity, communications, sewage, water treatment, roads, bridges gone. The country's economy is in similar shambles. Unemployment is 70%. The land is littered with mines, unexploded ordinance and polluted with deleted uranium. The KIAs on both sides escalate daily. For us it's getting close to 2,000, for the Iraqis no one's counting.
Finally, imagine it's 2010. Looking back at 2005 ask yourself this question about Gulf War I and II: Was it worth the cost? To families with a void that can never be filled, to men on crutches and in wheelchairs, to those (God help them) in what are cruelly called the freak wards in VA hospitals, the answer is no, it was not worth it. The price was too high.
If history is any guide, to future generations the Iraqi wars, fought 6,000 miles from our shores, will be just a word in the index of a history book, headlines hidden on a roll of microfiche, no more than a blip on history's radar screen. And now, in 2005, I have to ask myself the question: Is it worth the cost?
As I write this there is a small group of Marines somewhere in Iraq. They are laughing, complaining, occasionally cursing and talking, mostly about wives, their children, sweethearts, mothers. A few miles away there is an Iraqi family having dinner together. They, too, are enjoying each other's company. By the time you read this letter they will all be dead.
New Milford, PA
Bills Need Your Support
If you have a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother or are a woman yourself, then two bills before the Pennsylvania legislature need your support. If signed into law, Senate Bill 525 and House Bill 1344 would require insurance companies to cover the cost of breast cancer screening for young women, instead of waiting until they are 40 to pay for their first mammogram.
When my sister, Susan Snyder Branscum, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was only 37 years old. She had none of the conventional risk factors – she was just unlucky. She was three years away from hitting that magical “40th” birthday when insurance companies begin to see the risk of breast cancer as significant enough to warrant paying for a yearly mammogram. I will never know if earlier routine screening would have made any difference in my sister’s fight against this terrible disease. I can only tell you that, in my heart, I know that earlier testing may have detected the cancer before it spread and given Susan a better chance.
My sister lost her fight in November of 2003 but my mother decided to keep her gloves in the ring by taking up her cause. She has turned the unimaginable grief of losing a child into a project that aims to give others a fighting chance. I am truly inspired by my 70 year old mother who has almost single-handedly scored a major victory in Harrisburg. Toward the end of last year, she received word that the bills not only had been written by her own legislators, but that nearly 70 lawmakers had signed onto the bills as co-sponsors. If they are passed, these pieces of legislation would require insurance policies written in Pennsylvania to cover all types of breast cancer screening for all women. It is important that younger women, in particular, have access to sonograms since mammograms are not effective in detecting breast cancer in younger women because of the high density of their breast tissue.
It is my goal to inspire anyone whose life has been or has the potential to be touched by breast cancer to take action. The only way our legislators know whether there is support for a particular issue is if we tell them. Now is a critical time because these bills are in committee and must be approved by the committee before they can be voted on by the full House and Senate. Individual legislators can help to push a bill out of committee, but only if they know it is important to their constituents. The first must come from YOU! You can find the names and contact information for your state representative and senator on-line at www.legis.state.pa.us/. Write a brief letter telling them you support these bills and send it via e-mail or mail. The only cost is the time to write the letter and perhaps a stamp.
The power of a single action is staggering. Please consider adding your voice to others in this worthwhile fight.
Sandi (Snyder) Miller
Supposed To Be A Joke
I was born in the borough of New Milford almost 50 years ago. My family has lived in New Milford and New Milford Township for over five generations. Back in 1990, I took a job in Stroudsburg, PA. Not long after I moved to the Poconos, I met Scott and Virginia Young at a church on Main Street. Scott and I became friends almost immediately. We had a lot in common because we were both born and raised in a small rural town in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Scott’s hometown is a town about half the size of New Milford, called Snydersville. Another thing we had in common was the fact that we both owned and managed rental properties. One of our “jokes” was that we were two county boys that rent houses to city people from New York and New Jersey.
When the Young’s bought the camp at East Lake, as a joke, I warned them that the locals would call them “city folks” and the “Powers That Be” would do everything they could to crush their dreams. That was supposed to be a joke!
Before this “problem” at East Lake, I was never ashamed to tell people that my hometown was New Milford. Our community has failed miserably to embrace a decent family who came to live in our area. When you look into the details of this situation, you will find out that New Jersey and New York transplants are starting the problems. Barbara Shaw wrote a letter to this paper that had over 50 mistakes, lies and points of liable. Barbara Shaw lives in New Jersey.
Here are just a few corrections for this letter from Barbara Shaw: Toxic waste has never been officially alleged at the camp. Feces or toilet paper evidence has never existed at the camp. There is no e.coli bacteria at the camp. The camp was closed by an anonymous phone complaint. A New Milford township supervisor inspected the camp on 9/13/04 and found no evidence to support the complaint. There is no history of septic problems at this site. No illegal septic system has even been proven to exist at the camp. Owner Scott Young has not and does not display violence. Scott Young is intensely committed to the welfare of East Lake. He has served as Vice President of the East Lake Owners Association. These nine statements are facts. The Camp at East Lake is clean. It is a beautiful place for recreation. Scott and Ginny Young are extremely nice, loving and gentle people.
Please, before you form an opinion about this whole mess, take the time to visit the camp. See for yourself. Meet the owners. A lot of terrible things have been said about this camp and its owners. When you see something that is true and decent, it quickly cuts through the ignorance that surrounds this problem. Go See the Camp!
J. Walter Jones
New Milford. PA
Keep Them Alive
Several days ago I received a Philadelphia paper from a lawyer friend of mine. Going through the paper I saw an article with the headline “Why Do We Need Newspapers.” Without newspapers – small or big – we would be in one h - - - of a mess. Do you (we) realize the importance of newspapers?
It is believed that the Internet, television, cable news and all other “air news” will eventually wipe out the newspaper industry. I don’t believe that for one minute.
No newspapers! Perish the thought. Sure you can get today’s news “over the air.” Many Americans have scrapbooks that contain their wedding, their children’s wedding, the birth of a baby, winning a trophy in sports, and many more still pictures (such as man landing on the moon, Kennedy assassinated, etc.).
You can see many ads on TV. But when it’s in a newspaper, you can read it back, whenever you want! Doesn’t it make you feel proud to look back in your scrapbook and look at the “new and old” pictures of the family growing up – with most of the photos appearing in your local paper.
How would you like it if the Susquehanna County Transcript, the Forest City News and the Montrose paper stopped publishing? You would look at TV every day for national news. How about all the local news, where would you read that, and where would you put your for sale items? On the Internet!
I hope I never see the day that the newspaper stops coming.
To: Reverend Robert J. Simon and parishioners of Saint John the Evangelist Church:
Whereas: the benchmark of tradition is seen in the celebration of an anniversary, denoting longevity;
Whereas: the parish was established in Lanesboro in 1847 to serve the Catholics engaged in building the Starrucca Viaduct;
Whereas: the first Catholic church on Church Hill was built in 1853, the same year as the borough’s incorporation. This church was dedicated in 1854 by St. John Neumann.
Whereas: the first pastor of St. John’s, Father John Vincent O’Reilly, was a remarkable leader who, after building dozens of churches throughout northeastern Pennsylvania, made Susquehanna his home for the remainder of his life, and was recognized by his contemporaries as an important figure in the establishment of this community;
Whereas: the foundress of the Sisters of the IHM, Mother Theresa Maxis, established Laurel Hill Academy here and served here for seven years. Laurel Hill Academy was the first motherhouse and novitiate of the Scranton Congregation of the Sisters of the IHM. Mother Theresa is the first US-born, African-American religious Sister. Laurel Hill Academy served generations of children in Susquehanna;
Whereas: the current church building was dedicated on November 7, 1880 by Bishop William O’Hara;
Whereas: a blessed anniversary to be celebrated by parishioners with Bishop Joseph Francis Martino, D.D., Hist.E.D., Bishop of Scranton is scheduled for November 6, 2005, marking the 125th anniversary of the dedication of Saint John the Evangelist Church in Susquehanna Depot. This building is a beacon of the community, rising up as a symbol of the pride and commitment of our ancestors;
Whereas: Saint John’s holds a place of prominence in our valley; its steeple serves as a daily reminder of our faith and our love for God;
Now, therefore; let us celebrate the contribution that Saint John the Evangelist Church has made to our community with their many years of sustaining and comforting our community. May they continue to bless and enrich our community.
Borough of Susquehanna Depot
We Got What We Paid For
Well, just got done reading about the latest happenings at the New Milford boro meeting, and once again I marvel that such a self-serving man can occupy a seat of responsibility at the council table, and for such an extended period of time.
If you haven't guessed who I refer to, it's Rick Ainey, long time good old boy and man about town. When he isn't patting himself on the back for having such a long tenure in town leadership, he is busy passing the buck whenever actual effort is required, such as in the area of Economic Development (of which he is the committee chair. There is no committee, but he is the chair). I've lived in this community for almost three years, and as yet have not seen one example of economic development, anywhere. Putting in a sewer system and tarring roads is not economic development; that's considered to be maintaining infrastructure. That type of activity helps to attract business, but does not, in and of itself develop anything.
And whenever some misguided resident attempts to actually better himself or the community by adding new commerce, they are promptly shut down, or given so many roadblocks that they just give up.
Case in point: a woman wished to open a bakery within the town. She got all the permits, bought the equipment, jumped through all the hoops. The day she opened, the BORO shut her down. Why? Maybe because she provided direct competition to Mr. Ainey's grocery store, in which there was a bakery? And we can't have that, can we?
Another case in point: a resident on Main Street wished to open a gift shop on her property. Instead of backing the request for a map change, or at least using a little of his "charm" to facilitate an amicable agreement amongst the parties, where no harm in the request could be seen, he rolled over and played dead. Good effort.
Yet another case in point: the Rail Authority has secured funding to build a transfer yard in Sommersville; this should bring jobs and spark some much needed commerce in the area. A good thing, yes? Well, the first words out of Ainey's mouth are "oh oh, toxic chemicals, bad, etc.", before he even investigated what a transfer yard does. The truth is, if he couldn't profit from it, or have some control over it (like being on the Authority himself) it ain't a good thing.
I'm at a loss as to how someone with absolutely no vision or desire (except to pad his own pocket) can be in charge of economic development! If he has been on the council for over 20 years, what is his legacy? What can he point to and say, "I helped facilitate that"? The only monument to his vision that I can see is an ugly block building and a parking lot where a grand old building used to stand. He pocketed the proceeds from the sale of the architectural features of that building and gave back nothing. That's economic development?
And meanwhile, back at the council table, we have his suggestion to shut off the water to anyone who doesn't pay the sewer bill. Excuse me, but threatening to shut off a utility that is actually hooked up, working, and being paid for so that a service for which the homeowner ISN'T receiving should be paid for sounds like extortion to me. But I shouldn't have expected a more intelligent response from him; he and the other council members authorized the Municipal Authority to proceed in this fashion.
When are the folks of this town going to wake up and demand more from this clown than a handshake and a certified letter? As councilwoman Jane Zick lamented at a past meeting, "we aren't paid for this job". Well, guess what. We got what we paid for.
New Milford, PA
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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