Supporting the troops 

Supporting the troops

For the life of me, I don't understand this mantra mouthed by so many that we must "support the troops." Don't we realize that the best and most appropriate way to support the men and women we so glibly send into mostly useless, mishandled and often illegal wars is to not send them in the first place? Why aren't these mindless fools that keep saying "support the troops" just as worried about what happens to our troops when they come home? The American public that supports these senseless wars seems only to want to know, "Are we winning?" whatever that means!

We shouldn't have gone into Iraq (a blatantly illegal act under international law, using cooked intelligence and trumped-up excuses). That misadventure took the wind out of our undoubtedly proper venture into Afghanistan, draining our resources and placing an overwhelming strain on our military, thereby allowing the very people we were after to escape and regroup. Because of this we are experiencing far greater losses in Afghanistan, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people that have been killed as a result in Iraq, including several thousand of our own.

Further, why dump on the anti-war protesters, when all they are saying is quit this senseless war-mongering?

Eisenhower warned us of the military/industrial complex. Subsequently, we experienced disaster in Vietnam and managed to create a mess in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Don't we learn from these fiascos?

So, don't admonish me to support the troops! I do support them — realistically, not with false bravado and meaningless jingoistic motives!

I, by the way, did serve in the military, albeit I had the good fortune to do so when we weren't pursuing military imperialism.

Jim McCollum

About Obamacare

I was shocked to read in Ernest Dumas' July 8 article on health care legislation how apparently content our public servants are with poverty in Arkansas. Surgeon General Thompson apparently considers it news that there are "so many poor people" in Arkansas without health insurance. I'd have thought that as he has been on the job for several years now, someone might be tempted to ask him, "So what have you been doing about the situation?"

The real problem with health care in the United States goes far deeper than the actions of a single person or a small collection of individuals. It is a systemic problem. As it stands, the provision of health care is done on a for-profit basis — and this is considered to be acceptable.

The fundamental problem with this health "reform" is that it is premised on the concept that citizens must pay for it. Pay for something that we may never use until we are old, unless of course we are already dying. Finally, the Affordable Care Act will force working people to purchase insurance.

Isn't the measure of a true civilization how we take care of each other without regard to personal profit?

It is very cold comfort to learn that "comprehensive reform" will only last for a few years. Also troubling is that state officials are not sure what will actually happen. And does the article take into account factors like inflation, marketing, and good old corruption that will make the stated provisions of the Affordable Care Act meaningless even before it starts kicking in over the coming decade?

The answer? The much demonized "public option." Nationalize the American properties of a multinational corporation, like that proven national security risk BP, and the federal and state governments can subsidize universal health care, grade-A education, dignified retirement, and much else besides for all citizens. And while we are at it, why not for illegal immigrants too? For we are Christians, aren't we?

The Arkansas Times should give more attention to the Arkansas Green Party, which has good ideas about health care.

Anthony Newkirk
North Little Rock

Social Security

As I've followed news coverage of Washington's new Fiscal Reform Commission it's become clear to me that many members on this committee are gunning for Social Security cuts even though the program hasn't added a dime to our deficit. I paid for these benefits and refuse to let these so-called "fiscal hawks" use Social Security as a piggy bank to pay for a fiscal fiasco caused by astronomical health care costs, the excesses of Wall Street and the recession. Social Security cuts will not fix our deficit problem, yet this seems to be the main objective of this commission. Social Security's modest benefits pay an average of just $13,800 each year. With the stock market meltdown, housing market crash and high level of unemployment, people need Social Security more than ever. We don't need billionaires like Peter G. Peterson telling us to make tough sacrifices while they reap the benefits of fiscal policies that have made them rich. It would be a great disservice to our grandchildren if we sat back quietly while these fiscal hawks spread lies about Social Security to sway public opinion against it. We can't let that happen.

Sharon Loudermilk

Faubus like Long

The editorial June 17 was excellent, but I strongly disagree with the statement that "Arkansas never had a Huey Long."

When my husband and I moved here from Baton Rogue in 1958, I read about Orval Faubus and said, "Shades of Huey Long." Like Huey Long, he took money under the table. It is said he got money in a paper bag from gambling interests in Hot Springs every week.

Like Huey Long, he did many good things for the state. When my husband and I drove to his family home in Izard County, we went on a gravel road from Melbourne to Violet Hill. Soon, Faubus had many roads paved, just as Huey Long did in Louisiana. But both were dictators in their own way.

My husband worked as a social worker at the State Hospital. When Faubus ran for governor, he sent down a message for all employees to donate to his campaign. Not only that, but he told how much to donate. My husband was the only one in his office to refuse. I though he'd be fired.

Both men did great things. At least Faubus did not get assassinated on the floor of the Capitol.

Beverly Billingsley
Little Rock

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