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Letters to the Editor Policy

Inconvenient Facts

After a thoughtful column about modern life’s effects on the family (Jan. 16), I see Bob Scroggins has unfortunately returned to a topic on which he is woefully uninformed. This week it’s another chapter of “War According to Scroggins.”

His Jan. 9 column sought to teach us all about America’s “great wars,” or 75% of them anyway, and how they were all “bad” wars. I say 75% because he somehow overlooked the Revolutionary War, arguably our most significant since without it there’d have been no others. Surely such an intelligent though sadly misguided mind could not have forgotten our little scuffle with King George (twice the duration of any of our other “great” wars), so why no mention of it?

Because as with so many of his political topics, Mr. Scroggins starts with a predetermined axe to grind – he then picks, twists and sometimes even flat-out creates the facts necessary to support his conclusion. On Jan. 9, the point of the sermon was that all wars are bad, at least if the United States gets involved. The Revolutionary War hardly lends itself to that argument and so he conveniently ignores it, hoping no one will notice. Readers, beware this common ploy when Bob preaches the political – no contrary evidence allowed. As a result, it’s often what he doesn’t say that speaks the loudest.

Of the three wars he did discuss in that column, none were recognizable to me, a lifelong student of American history. Without going into detail, as that could fill several volumes, suffice it to say that Bob’s views on the causes and effects of those three wars were nothing more than hearty servings of unsubstantiated nonsense. It was pure fiction – not history – cooked up in his ultra left wing mental kitchen along with his usual fare of 1960’s ideological leftovers. As always with Bob’s political ravings and rantings, it’s “Blame America and George Bush First.”

Predictably, in his Jan. 23 column, we were told the U.S. was to blame once again, this time in the recent Iranian speedboat incident. Never mind that our ships were in international waters, exactly where they had a perfect right to be. Struggling mightily to find America at fault, Bob dismissed the threat to our ships and sailors by claiming the Iranian craft were merely “unarmed, outboard-motor speedboats.” To begin with, he hasn’t the slightest idea if they were unarmed or not, nor did the captains of our three warships at the time. More ominously, it was just such a small, “unarmed” boat, secretly laden with high explosives, that blew a hideous hole in the side of the U.S.S. Cole in 1998 and killed dozens of American sailors in the process. From that moment on, any U.S. Navy commander who allows an unidentified craft, no matter how tiny or “unarmed” it may appear, to venture anywhere near his vessel is derelict in his duties and should be immediately relieved of command. When any such boat, Iranian or otherwise, makes threatening gestures and refuses to heed repeated directions to keep its distance, the U.S. captain is entirely justified – indeed obligated – to protect his ship by promptly vaporizing the intruder. The safety of American lives and vessels far outweighs the need to indulge some Iranian fruit loop out for his idea of a fun afternoon on the water. Fortunately, on January 6, one Iranian finally recognized his danger, backed off and thus kept those 64 virgins waiting a bit longer. Wise choice.

Then we’re treated to some vintage Scroggins. Incredibly, just after informing us those U.S. warships had nothing to fear from the Iranian boats, Bob is quick to describe how, in some unidentified “$250 million war game,” Iran’s “swarming scores of speedboats” handily defeated a U.S. armada on paper, sinking “16 American vessels, including a carrier.” Which is it, Bob? Either Iran’s speedboats are harmless, as you first claim, or they’re the new terrors of the ocean, merrily erasing American carrier groups at will. You can’t have it both ways and still impersonate someone who makes sense! So you take the Iranian speedboats, I’ll take the U.S. Persian Gulf Fleet and we’ll see what kinds of odds Vegas gives us. (Hint: you’re getting a ton of points.)

This unidentified war games debacle remains vague and shadowy because facts, at least those he hasn’t made up, are Bob’s worst enemy. When was this? Where? What American ships and fleets were involved? And most important, how can the reader independently verify your version of events? I ask because many readers – all of them, I hope – have learned over time that your grandiose recitation of “facts” is often nothing more than a figment of your anti-American imagination gone haywire.

This one is a bit hard to swallow, even for a Scroggins pile. Had a bevy of Iranian speedboats truly proved capable of sinking 16 American warships in these war games as he claims, it would represent, on paper, the greatest U.S. naval defeat in history, worse than Pearl Harbor by far. This is pure “Scroggins-nonsense” yet again – he apparently believes that if he shocks us with outrageous and unsubstantiated “facts” often enough, we’ll eventually grow immune to the utter absurdity of his claims, thus granting them an aura of credibility by default.

In the recent Strait of Hormuz incident, two of the U.S. ships involved were state of the art guided missile cruisers, aside from our own carriers likely the most lethal package afloat. In 1994 I had the honor of touring one of these vessels in port in Norfolk, VA. The technology even then was far beyond anything else on the seas, truly awesome – what it is today is hard to imagine. At the end of the tour, which included a full-scale simulation of the ship’s combat capabilities, the retired admiral who had accompanied us took questions. Thinking of my father’s service aboard a World War II destroyer in the North Atlantic, I asked the admiral how this ship would have fared in that conflict. He smiled slightly and replied, “With just one of these boats in the U.S. fleet, World War II would never have happened.” If Bob Scroggins honestly believes the U.S. and other coalition navies are powerless to keep the Strait of Hormuz open in the face of Iranian speedboats trying to close it, then he is indeed walking  down a “Road Less Traveled” – without a map or a clue.

Mr. Scroggins, being an official columnist now does  not give you journalistic license to ignore, create, cherry-pick or twist the facts in order to fit your predetermined political agenda. Leave the misleading of the public through liberal bias to the professionals, the national media. If you must assault our intelligence with your fantastic claims clothed as “facts,” at least back them up with readily verifiable sources.


Sam W. Lewis

Montrose, PA

Take Back America

How can we justify or fund some lame excuse, by paying over $3.00 for one gallon of gasoline? I thought the trickle-down economics used widely by the Republican party would have allowed some of the 60-plus cents a gallon windfall come back to us. Instead, 60-plus cents is going into the economy to a very few businesses who are not spending it (evidently). I wonder if the new stimulus package adds up to all the 60 cents we are spending in our economy. This is gone for good from the American economy.

The American people are not dumb; I am confused as hell on this and we need to build ethanol plants now, make our own work here. Get together and start small business in every town and city, and take back America. Let’s make some trickle-down trickle down to who truly needs it.

We know where and when to spend it.


Peter A. Seman

Thompson, PA

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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