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Issue Home July 18, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Please Return Them

To whom it may concern, I would appreciate the return of my mother, Cindy Chilewski’s lawn ornaments, the green Jesus and Mary, fairies, angels, etc. If you put them back within the week I won’t prosecute, but if I find out who stole them and they are not returned, I will prosecute.

They don’t belong to you, so please return them.


Kellie McGuane

Susquehanna, PA

A Valuable Opportunity

I just discovered a valuable treasure right in Susquehanna County! We've been given a terrific opportunity to get educated, learn a new skill, improve our income level, and increase our pride and abilities, all right here in our own backyard! I'm talking about the Lackawanna Community College satellite campus here in New Milford. They're offering terrific, affordable courses (financial aid is always an option) to everyone and anyone interested.

They've started out with basic programs like Business Administration, Child Care, Healthcare, and Law Enforcement, and have added CDL Training to their roster of courses. If there's a particular program you'd like to see happen, contact them!

College courses and degree programs aren't just for kids either; it's never too late to learn a new craft, skill, occupation, or just expand our knowledge of any subject imaginable. In fact, it's often easier to tackle this opportunity when we're older, as we've already established our families, settled into our homes, etc. If you've got heartbeat, you can do it!

Don't let this invaluable resource slip away; they've invested in us, let's return the favor (and do ourselves one in the bargain).

See you in class!


Sue Abbott

New Milford, PA

It’s That Time Again

It’s that time of year again and the Clifford Township Volunteer Fire company will be holding their annual firemen’s picnic. We, the Ladies Auxiliary, are asking anyone who is able to do so, to please donate pies to the pie stand. We will continue to operate this stand, but we need your help in providing the delicious cakes and pies.

Pies may be dropped off at the pie stand at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, July 26, 27, or 28.

Thank you for your continued support.


Christina Bolcavage

CTVF Ladies Auxiliary

Geneva? It's A Town In Switzerland

Think torture instruments. What comes to mind: the iron maiden, the rack, thumb screws? All on target, but you're eight centuries behind the times. Welcome to 21st century torture devices: ear-splitting music, subjection to heat in excess of 135 degrees F., exposure to freezing temperatures while doused with cold water, water boarding, and prolonged extreme stress positions. They are interrogation techniques employed by the new inquisitors: the U.S. military, the CIA, and private contractors in their updated version of the Spanish Inquisition.

Yet the Geneva Convention states that prisoners "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely." The UN Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. ratified, is more explicit: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever... may be invoked as a justification of torture."

How, then, does the administration justify its use of torture? A memo from the United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez gives the answer. It defines torture as "Physical pain [that] must be equivalent to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure... or even death." More to the point; anything goes.

What about cruel and inhuman treatment? Gonzalez: "though [acts] might constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment [they may] fail to rise to the level of torture." So that's okay, too.

The memo concludes, "interrogations undertaken... may be unconstitutional... but the circumstances of the current war could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability." So the President may not only sidestep the Geneva Convention, disregard the UN Convention Against Torture, but scorn the Constitution as well.

Note that the memo refers to "the current war," and the President refers to himself as a "war president" engaged in a "war against terrorism," but when it suits his purpose, he is not at war. Soldiers in Iraq are instructed that prisoners are not protected by the Geneva Convention because they are not POWs. Therefore, "enhanced interrogation techniques" – a phrase coined by Gestapo Chief Heinrich Muller – are not illegal and interrogators are not subject to prosecution.

John McCain, a former POW, drafted a bill prohibiting torture. It was overwhelmingly approved by the House and the Senate. With reluctance, the President signed it but attached a signing statement. A signing statement – according to the imaginative attorney general – gives the President the authority to ignore or modify any bill he signs. It is, however, blatantly unConstitutional. The Constitution only grants the president the right to sign or veto a bill.

But if torture saves American lives, isn't it justified? The question presents a false choice. It gives only two choices when others are available. It also assumes that torture saves lives; but, false information may cost lives. It assumes that the victim is a terrorist and that he has information that may save lives. Neither of these assumptions may be true. Lastly, the effects on the torturer, himself, are brutalizing and dehumanizing.

Invariably a person will break under torture and say whatever his tormentors want him to say. But torture for the purpose of obtaining accurate information according to studies by the CIA and the FBI is not effective. It gains nothing that careful questioning would not more reliably and easily be obtained.

But one result of the President's pro-torture policy has been extraordinarily effective; it has degraded us to the level of our enemies.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, 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. 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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