ANOTHER VOICE Saddam simply should have taken the grace period

Another Voice

By MARC COHN

Special to the News

The Hood River News of March 29 had a number of letters and an Op-Ed piece all commenting negatively on “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Unfortunately, these comments are just not based in reality.

Wendy Best would blame George Bush for our current economy when virtually every expert agrees the primary cause is the excesses of the “dot-bomb” phenomenon that drained one trillion dollars of investment capital and produced nothing in return (except a number of very young, very rich millionaires). Neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Clinton nor any other president has been able to control senseless speculation or its negative effects.

Leigh Hancock worries about how many people will die in “this senseless war.” I don’t know but I do know the number of Iraqis Saddam has already killed and the casualties in this war cannot possibly come close to that total.

It makes sense to me to end the regime that has killed several hundred thousand of its own citizens even if it means that some more might die in the process.

Dee Holzman claims the administration is misguided but can there be any doubt that Iraq under Saddam has actively aided terror groups with various kinds of assistance and that the potential of providing them with nerve gas or anthrax is real? Yes, terrorism is accomplished by a “borderless enemy,” but too often they are “sponsored” by rogue states.

Lastly, Diane Allen tries to make a case for the current wave of war protestors. The problem is that the massive (and effective) rallies she alludes to that helped end the Vietnam War were not in violation of the law. Instead, they were held with proper permits and did not disrupt or interfere with people trying to conduct their everyday lives. The First Amendment does NOT guarantee the right to break the law.

The Hood River News op-ed piece warned “many were wary about picking a fight.” War is a terrible thing for everyone involved. The violence de-humanizes us all. But there are people and circumstances that offer no other options absent surrender. To allow Iraq to continue to defy the United Nations after 1991 was a mistake and we are now paying for the United Nations reluctance to face up to the problem. And oh yes, when the final accounting is in we will see that there were many multi-million dollar arms deals between Iraq and the French, Germany and Russia. Shame on them.

It irks me that many of those protesting the war seek to find ulterior motives when the simple explanation is that our president simply did not want to gamble with the fate of the United States against the potential damage of a madman. In 1963 President Kennedy gave Khrushchev a similar ultimatum — remove Soviet missiles from Cuba in 48 hours or face the Strategic Air Command with B52s carrying nuclear bombs. Unfortunately, Saddam did not take advantage of his 48-hour grace period.

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Marc Cohn lives in Hood River.

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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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