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Look For Our Up Coming CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Featured In The Dec. 21th Issue Of The Susquehanna County Transcript

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Letters to the Editor Policy

Misdirected Bandwagon

The truly distressing thing about the anti-war letters one reads these days is how unthinkingly their authors have adopted the excuse put forth by certain whining politicians – “the government misled us.” (For shame – if you are so easily duped do you really belong in the US Senate to begin with?) Those now blindly boarding the misdirected bandwagon of prominent public figures trying to rewrite history would do better to reflect on pre-war proceedings with an objective, intelligent mind.

To those writers now bemoaning the realities of Iraq I ask: in 2003 what part of war did you not understand? Did you not realize there would be casualties? That the one certainty of war is its inherent unpredictability? That ridding the world of evil requires great sacrifice? Spare me your naïve posturing, your feigned sense of surprise. We all knew or should have known of the potential costs going in, just as we knew that flying airplanes into buildings and the suicide bombing of American embassies involved civilian casualties. Which do you prefer? Because like it or not, the reality is that it’s one or the other.

When one strips away the distortions of those seeking political gain from our present situation, the cold, hard facts of pre-war intelligence on Iraq are plain. All were publicly available in 2003 to anyone bothering to look.

1. For years the Clinton Administration was also of the opinion that Iraq either had or shortly would have weapons of mass destruction.

2. Every major intelligence service in the world – American, British, Israeli, Russian and yes, even French and German – firmly believed Saddam possessed. WMD’s.

3. The United Nations, with access to the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the entire world, was of the nearly unanimous opinion Iraq had WMD’s.

4. The members of Congress and their staffs had access to the same pre-war intelligence and the vast majority(including John Kerry, last seen scurrying off at a 180-degree angle) came to the same conclusion: Saddam possessed WMD’s.

5. Iraq had been on the verge of nuclear capability in the 1980’s before the Israeli air force, in a preemptive strike, destroyed its nuclear reactor.

6. Saddam Hussein had already used chemical weapons in his 1980’s war with Iran and even against his own civilian population (ask the Kurds if our invasion was worth it).

7. And finally, for a decade Saddam had resisted the world’s legitimate efforts to monitor Iraq’s weapons compliance, effectively expelling inspectors from the country and flagrantly ignoring numerous UN resolutions.

Against this foreboding, factual background of course the US government believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction – no rational person faced with this evidence could have reasonably concluded otherwise! To now argue that the Bush Administration somehow pulled the wool over our eyes ignores the unanimity of the world’s collective intelligence efforts – in 2003 everyone was convinced Saddam had WMD’s.

The fact that no WMD’s have been found in Iraq is a tenuous hindsight argument relied on by the now-howling left. Has it occurred to them that maybe, just maybe Saddam Hussein was devious enough to have moved them to, say, Syria in the months leading up to war? Implicit in the anti-war crowd’s mindset is a preference to trust Saddam’s word over that of their own government. Never mind patriotism – plain common sense dictates otherwise.

This was the same Saddam Hussein whose top generals, in a taped conversation presented to the UN, were overheard frantically discussing the removal of certain unnamed items from a site the weapons inspectors were about to visit. Pardon my cynicism but something tells me those items weren’t adult movies or contraband French wine!

To those blindly joining the stampede of politicians scrambling to distance themselves from their own records I would say: get the facts and seriously engage your minds before attempting to rewrite history as it wasn’t.

No one wants to see our service personnel killed or maimed in a foreign land. Each loss takes something from every one of our hearts. But we resolutely declared war on terrorism and those who support it four years ago and we dare not abandon the cause because the cost is high. President Bush clearly warned us it would be. Tell me, who do you think is going to fight terrorism and its breeding grounds if not us? The French? Aside from the Israelis no other people on the planet have the national fortitude for the effort and we are the only nation with the necessary resources.

Did we learn nothing from Bosnia and Kosovo? For those of you who have forgotten, after years of civil war a ferocious, two-week US bombing campaign finally brought the three principals to Dayton, Ohio to hammer out a peace settlement, a treaty which has surprised the world with its durability. (The sound of B-1’s apparently focuses one’s mind on the art of compromise!) It is time we stiffened our collective backbone and honored the sacrifices made thus far by our brave soldiers, by resolving to go all out and finish the job at hand.

Like it or not, the stark reality we face today is this: these international murderers called terrorists are really no different than the Nazi Gestapo or Japanese warlords of the 1930’s – they will not stop killing until we dissuade them from doing so by the application of consistent, superior force, plain and simple. Should we shrink from this task of our times, history will hardly judge us amongst the greatest of generations.


Sam Lewis

Montrose, PA

Advent Penance Services

Advent allows us the opportunity to gather together and share our common experiences of pain, sorrow, hope and joy. Roman Catholics do this especially through the sacrament of healing we call, "Penance." This sacrament invites God's healing presence into our lives so that we may live more fully His dreams and desires for us and our world. Throughout our area there will be several communal celebrations of the sacrament of Penance. Several priests are at each penance service which allows the time needed for those who have been away from the sacraments to get help to return.

We invite Catholics who have wandered to come home for Christmas through this great sacrament of love given to us so we can begin again as a New Creation in Christ with the following schedule: December 15 – 7 p.m.: St. Lawrence, Great Bend; December 18 – 4 p.m.: St. Joseph's Church, St. Joseph; December 18 – 7 p.m.: Holy Name of Mary, Montrose.


Annette Corrigan

Jackson, PA

The Grinch Is Innocent!

Look no more for nativity scenes. They will not be seen. And Christmas stars and crosses decorating utility poles? They, too, belong to Christmas past. Snowflakes, bells, candy canes: Secular stuff are what's needed for a Holiday Season. "Silent Night" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" at school Christmas concerts? You'll hear them not. But Rudolph and Frosty will remain on redacted recitals.
Even our language has been sanitized. Christmas vacation is now Winter break and the cheery salutation "Merry Christmas" has given way to an inclusive "Happy Holiday," or yet more meaningless, "Season's Greeting." Even the iconic Christmas tree has been rechristened to an undefined holiday tree. All the warmth and spiritual meaning of Christmas has been swept away, replaced by what one newspaper headline heralded as the "Spending Season." Consumption Season would be more accurate but gross rather than just crude.

So who stole Christmas? No, it wasn't the Grinch. He's innocent. It was a handful of lawyers who stole Christmas and along with it everything that so much as hints of Christianity. The Supreme Court, that black-robed band of nine lawyers, decided that all this should be illegal. And so it is.

How Christmas Was Stolen

Now, you ask, how were these unelected lawyers able to outlaw Christmas? They invented a trumped-up tale titled "The Wall of Separation Between Church and State." But before we examine this bit of fiction some background on the First Amendment is needed, particularly the first part of the first sentence: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion . . . ."
Before commencing its tale the Court first had to overlook to whom the amendment is addressed: It is addressed to the congress, not to the people. It forbids congress from legislating any law favorable to the establishment of a national church such as existed at the time in England. It does in no way forbid the expression of religion, especially Christianity. Far from it. In 1892 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S. that ". . . this is a Christian nation . . . . This is historically true . . . [f]rom the discovery of this continent to the present hour . . . ."

Pinocchio Tells His Story

Next the Supreme Court twisted the First Amendment 180 degrees redirecting it from the congress to the people and invoked the phrase "separation of church and state." But that separation is pure fiction, as make-believe as the shaded stories of Pinocchio, that long-nosed teller of fibs.
The oft-quoted maxim is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. The phrase is Thomas Jefferson's written in response to fears that a particular Christian denomination might become a national religion. To quell that fear Jefferson quoted the First Amendment citing the prohibition of congress making such laws. The First Amendment, Jefferson went on to say, created "a wall of separation of church and state" protecting the people from a federally established national church.
The Court in a supreme flight of fancy now cited Jefferson's phrase as meaning the prohibition of church and religion, all region, even the very mention of God.

Now we are ready to begin the Court's yarn of "The Wall of Separation . . ." in earnest. It started in 1961 in a case titled Engel v. Vitale. Here the justices stood the First Amendment on its head and ruled that it really meant freedom from religion, not freedom of religion. Prayer in school was now unconstitutional. Imagine that. The Bible was used as a textbook in colonial schools and prayer had been a traditional part of the school day until 1961. And in all that time, almost 200 years, no one knew, not even Jefferson, that it was unconstitutional.

Children Protected From Ten Commandments

Our story continues with Stone v. Graham in 1980. Here the court ruled that even posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is unconstitutional. Their reason: ". . . it will be to induce the school children to read, mediate upon, and perhaps venerate and obey, the Commandments." The Court protected our children from that.

So in 2003 when Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore refused to remove from court grounds a 2.6-ton monument incised with the Ten Commandments the Supreme Court of that state had a hissy fit and removed both the monument and Judge Moore. The monument is now safely out of view locked in a closet.

That decision would have astonished James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution and the author of the original draft of the Bill of Rights. He wrote: "We have staked the future of all of our political institutions . . . upon the capacity of each and all of us to governor ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." But I digress. Back to our story.

Declaration of Independence Found Illegal

Continuing the expunge-God campaign, in 2000 a Federal District Judge in Kentucky banned excerpts from the Declaration of Independence because it mentioned God. There are four such references in the document, two at the beginning and two at the end. But at least the middle passed muster. Five years later the U. S. Supreme Court of The United States upheld this ruling. Presumably, since the Constitution also mentions God, this, too, could be outlawed.

With this the Court is within reach of the very pinnacle of absurdity: The Constitution is unconstitutional.
Here we reach the conclusion of the Court's fanciful and flaky fable of "The Wall of Separation Between Church and State," the vindication of the Grinch (he wasn't such a bad guy after all), and, sadly, the end of Christmas.

Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Doing The Same?

In reply to David Hall's letter of 12/7/05, which commented on my own letter in which I had complained about people yelling at my car because it has Jersey plates:

You could be absolutely right, Mr. Hall. I may be a despicable, horrid, vile person who ought to be shot by a firing squad, but your theory would only make sense if the people who yelled at me for being from New Jersey actually knew me. I could understand someone who actually knew me wanting to tell me how vile I am, but complete strangers? Back to the drawing board, Mr. Hall. Yelling at someone you don’t know because they come from a certain place is akin to doing the same for the color of their skin.

Margaret Karmazin

Susquehanna, PA

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