'Just one letter'

During the Gulf War, the U.S. military worked to minimize the "collateral damage" deaths of civilians. When the war ended, our politicians took over. Since then over one million Iraqi civilians have died under our government's sanctions program. Almost all of them were innocent. They didn't even vote for Saddam Hussein -- he is a dictator. In fact, in the past the American government has helped Saddam far more than any of the citizens of Iraq. In the past, the American government has armed him, given him "intelligence," and looked the other way while he used poison gas against his people. But the two governments fell out, so the U.S. got the U.N. to enact sanctions, and innocent civilians have been the victims.

I work in office buildings and fly on airplanes, so I can see how easily it could have been me, and how the terrorist's victims were innocent, and didn't deserve what happened to them. It is not so easy for me to put myself in the place of an Iraqi. But I am a parent. Those of you who are parents, imagine watching your children starve to death. More than a million Iraqi parents have watched their children die. All of those children were innocent. Many of them were not old enough to talk.

The Americans that I know are mostly decent, kind, and honorable people. But the fact is that for 10 years our government's policy has been to deny food and medicine to innocent civilians because we don't like their dictator. Our government doesn't deny this. Five years ago Madeleine Albright was directly asked about the death of 500,000 children, and she said "this is a very hard choice but the price, we think, is worth it."

How good a reason would you need, to kill half a million children? You and I didn't do this, but our government did. Isn't it about time we make our government live by our values? Please write your politicians and tell them you want no more innocent victims. For your country's honor, your own soul, and your children's future, write one letter.

Wayne Haythorn

Mosier

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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