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Issue Home November 8, 2005 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Brer Fox And The Tar-Baby

I think we're about to turn the corner in Iraq. I remember the first time we went 'round the bend, it was the occupation of Baghdad. The Iraqis were supposed to welcome us with cheers and flowers. That didn't happen. The closest we came to it was the staged toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue by a few dozen demonstrators. The next corner was the capture of Saddam Hussein himself. Surely, after we bagged him the resistance would collapse. It didn't. So chasing after other hopes we turned two more corners: the transfer of sovereignty and the national assembly elections.

Yet resistance only intensified. But finally we had the insurgents where we wanted them, concentrated in one city: Fallujah.

This city was the insurgents last stand: their Waterloo and Little Big Horn rolled into one. But the defenders failed to cooperate and escaped, but Fallujah did not; it was trashed. A city of 350,000 became virtually uninhabitable.

Another turning point was needed. This time it was the Iraqi constitution. Surely, if this diploma of democracy was ratified, Iraq will swear their undying gratitude to us, their benefactors. The constitution was ratified and our death toll surged past 2,000. The violence, killing and destruction continues and the smart money says it will accelerate.

By the way, if you're counting corners we've been around the block several times and are headed back to where we started.

The purpose of America's first pre-emptive war has undergone similar illusions of hope and revisions of purpose. At first our rationale was to save the world from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. But Saddam's WMD existed only in our imagination. However, we did discover that was not why we really marched into Iraq anyway – it was the global war on terrorism. Well, turns out that Iraq was not connected with 9/11, had no connection with Osama bin Laden and did not harbor any terrorists. But at least we finally discovered why we really, really conquered Iraq; it was to bring them the blessings of democracy.

But democracy at the point of a bayonet has its drawbacks: it needs tens of thousands of troops and tanks, and a constant infusion of blood. Tossing a hand grenade through someone's window and kicking in the door is not the best way to make friends and influence people. Nor do 500-pound bombs dropped in a residential neighborhood ingratiate us to the survivors. And we shouldn't be surprised if killing insurgents along with the collateral deaths of a few civilians creates some resentment. After all, those civilians, and the insurgents too, were someone's children, husbands, wives, cousins, or just friends and neighbors.

Our occupation of Iraq has, however, met with some results, albeit all of them unintended. We have killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, destroyed billions of dollars in infrastructure and homes, polluted the country with unexploded ordinance and depleted uranium, managed to increase the price of oil by a magnitude or two, brought the country to the edge of a three-way civil war, radicalized Iran and destabilized the entire Middle East. And worst of all, both for the Iraqis and for us, we can't get out. Reminds me of Uncle Remus' tale, "The Tar-Baby."

Brer fox in his ne'er ending quest to catch the elusive Brer Rabbit constructed a mannequin made of tar. The rabbit, greeting the Tar-Baby, was much offended by its lack of response, so he kicked it. The continued silence so infuriated the rabbit that he kicked it again, then punched it. But the more he kicked and the more he punched the more entangled he became 'till it was impossible for the rabbit to free himself. Finally, Brer Fox, who was gleefully watching the goings-on, said, "I speck you'll take dinner wid me dis time, Brer Rabbit."


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Beautiful Lamp Posts

I seldom have occasion to travel through Susquehanna in the evening, so it was a lovely surprise last Saturday night to come from Lanesboro direction and see the glow of the new lamp posts. (Maybe they are new only to me.) The soft lighting was a huge improvement and the person(s) who came up with the idea and whoever made it happen are to be congratulated. The decorations were great, too. The town really looked nice.

Leaders in nearby towns should visit Susquehanna and see for themselves. Consider it for your own list of municipal improvements. The first impression value is very high.

Phyllis Goodrich

Careful What You Wish For

A letter writer last week brought up the old Dred Scott analogy in regard to the abortion issue. She expressed gratitude that Supreme Court decisions can be reversed. Yes, they can,  but I’d like to point out that in the case of Dred Scott, this was done by Constitutional Amendment. It was not done by stacking the Supreme Court with ideological zealots in order to produce a predetermined outcome. Since the opponents of abortion know they cannot succeed in amending the Constitution to ban what a majority of the American people want to keep legal, they are resorting to an unethical, end-run around the Constitution with the court-stacking strategy.

And for what? Just to make an empty statement that “Abortion is wrong!”? To allow for a ban that’s unenforceable, that will be violated in the privacy of some doctors’ offices, or in dangerous back alleys?

And let’s be aware of the likely pitfalls of this strategy. In selecting highly ideological judges who can be counted on to reverse Roe v. Wade, what other precedents that protect our rights will they ignore as well? Perhaps five of the Justices will turn out to be reactionary pro-business zealots, and will rule that the government cannot protect the health and safety of workers. We’d be at the mercy of greedy and reckless employers, as it was in the 1800’s. Another likelihood is that they’ll demolish the wall of separation between Church and State. A careful reading of the Constitution and of their precious “original intent” finds no basis for government favoritism toward Christianity, but the same people who oppose abortion expect the government, at all times, to ratify and endorse Christianity. So much for the Non-Establishment Clause. So much for the right of the 50 million non-Christian Americans. The hypocrisy of these ideologues who claim to be Constitutionalists is grotesque.

But let’s get back to the Dred Scott analogy again. In order to put an end to slavery, it was necessary to fight a war. Are the opponents of abortion willing to go to the equivalent extreme to stop abortion, rather than just have an unenforceable “feel good” ban? When it comes to abortion, are they willing to do what it takes to prevent it: incarcerating all females between puberty and menopause? Nothing else will suffice.

I think it’s quite possible. In their radical Court-stacking strategy, they’ve shown that they are willing to sacrifice any and all of our liberties for this one issue. They can’t let it go, so they’ll risk destroying dozens of other precedents just to overturn Roe. Enslaving the entire female gender is merely the last step of the process, and apparently an acceptable price to pay. What a screwy country, where fetuses will have rights and the born will have none.


Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA

Cost Of Freedom, Isn’t Free

This letter is in response to “Blips On History’s Radar Screen.” Mr. Scroggins, first, I get the impression from reading your letter to the editor that you have never served in the military and furthermore have no clue what soldiers, sailors, airmen go through during a war or conflict.

I, myself have served over 23 years, active and guard. I was also deployed for eleven months at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, not “Gulf War II.” I can’t help but think most of your opinions have been formulated by what you have read and seen on the news, which only shows the negative side of this operation. I do not want to get into the political views here, but face it; the news media is controlled by one political view, mostly.

Mr. Scroggins, I supported an airborne brigade, also numerous taskforces in northern Iraq, I have seen the relief on faces of men, women, children and the elderly from the suppression and dictatorship of Sadaam Hussein. Unfortunately, war is hell and there are going to be casualties, both military and civilian.

Your statement about a marine firing an RPG into a suspicious hut, only to find the remains of women and children, I took offense to. Let me correct you. Mr. Scroggins, first the marine or solider would only have fired on the hut, if he was being fired upon. Second, your reference to the marine firing an RPG, let me correct you, that an RPG is an individual, handheld rocket grenade launcher, which is a communist weapon, made and primarily used by the Soviet Union and now by the insurgent terrorist in Iraq. Unfortunately, in both Vietnam and now in Operation Iraqi Freedom, our soldiers do not know who they are fighting – they do not wear uniforms, or clothing that separates them from the civilian population, they fight cowards that hide in Mosques and fire on troops as they pass by or hide behind buildings detonating I.E.D. (Improvised Explosive Device), setting the device off by remote control as our military vehicles pass over.

One more fact, our military force is made up of an all-volunteer force, these men and women volunteered; they believe what they are doing to be right. I work for the Blue Ridge School District with a man; his name is Bill Evans, Sr., he and his wife, Judy just recently lost their oldest son, Bill Evans, Jr., in Iraq, serving in the Army National Guard Unit in New Milford. I had and still have great admiration for Bill, Sr.; he supported his son while on deployment, every way he could, he sported an Army Ranger haircut and still does, he wrote numerous letters to his son, mostly during his work breaks. You could sense every day the concern and see it in his eyes for his son’s welfare; Bill and Judy were very proud of their son and still are! Bill’s son gave the ultimate sacrifice, along with Lee Wiegand and the other four soldiers from the local area.

Mr. Scroggins, I would like you to look these families in the eyes and tell them that their husbands, sons or brothers died for nothing. I can tell you this, every one of these outstanding young men believed in what they were doing and died doing so!

We cannot pull out of Iraq. If we do, then what you say is true, they died for nothing. We must stay the course; the cost of freedom isn’t free and never will be.

Mr. Scroggins, on November 11, I would ask of you to find a veteran that you know and shake his hand and say thank you, for his sacrifice and others, so you and I could write Letters to the Editor and voice our opinions, good or bad, for it was and is the soldier, sailor and airman that gave that right to you and I.


Ron Cranage, Jr.

(Ret. Captain, US Army/Army Natl. Guard)

Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran

Fiction In Misstated Facts

Facts are facts and when statements are made using incorrect information they now become misconstrued information, or fictional tales. After reading the County Transcript dated November 2, 2005, my partner and I came across a letter that was directed at us. Having read this letter of many misstated facts, fictional tales, we feel a rebuttal is deemed necessary.

The first paragraph of this letter, “How Soon We Forget” makes mention of Beidermier, my Dachshund who was attacked by a neighbor’s Rottweiler whom just this past summer attacked another small dog, nearly killing him. One should also make note that this is the fifth dog the Rottweiler had attacked.

The author of the aforementioned letter makes reference to the fact that I have a new male friend. Yes, I do, however is this pertinent to the issue that they are addressing? Life brings many changes. The author construed that the “two dogs have made a public nuisance of themselves.” Granted, this friend moved here with two dogs, that’s as far as the truth of that statement goes. Let us preface by saying that upon his move here we constructed an extensive dog run for our dogs. We are not denying that our Black Lab did escape and killed a cat, not cats. Where’s the proof that the cat in a state of panic, didn’t damage the liner? A cat, plus the other two variables, water and a dog surely would cause panic.

The State Dog Warden has not made “repeated visits to this pompous male.” He did make one visit to our home. Note that was one visit to respond to the complaint of the cat/pool/dog complaint to meet our so-called “vicious” dog. His statement after meeting her was how “well trained she is.” Seems if one cared to make such a statement of “repeated visits,” then they should care enough to verify their facts before stating mistruths. We ask, what’s a person to do with such blatant mistruth?

Last week, a Benson Oil delivery driver came to the door looking for an address he was unable to find with the lack of physical numeric address on houses here in the borough. In doing so, our Black Lab bolted out the door. My partner and I proceeded to retrieve her. A neighbor’s son had caught her and he was walking her over to us, when my partner noticed someone within the house had walked out into the yard with a rifle. Upon returning home, he called the party with the rifle, announced to whom they were speaking and inquired as to their intent. They replied, “Your dog is a hunting dog and a cat killer. It traumatized my cat. I will either frighten it or kill it.” The author of the letter states, “we do all we can to make newcomers feel welcome.” Surely, I would not say this is a way of making one feel welcome. It’s more reminiscent of life in the Wild West, or with the Hatfields and McCoys.

The author also makes issue to the fact that we, “have no respect for our neighbors or community.” We have a vast amount of respect for our community and neighbors, so much so that neither this male nor his partner (unlike the author of the letter, of reference) is ashamed to sign their names. No, this male isn’t asking anyone to “conform to his standards” but perhaps a review of their own standards would benefit.


Vittorio J. Russo

Thomas W. Sanders

Thompson, PA

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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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