Printed letters, November 7, 2012

The Daily Sentinel published a story last Sunday that claimed the reason that four Americans were killed Sept. 11 in Benghazi, Libya, was because the military couldn’t get there in time. This story raises more questions than it answered.

Why, if the military tried but couldn’t get there, did the administration blame it on a video for 15 days? Why was nothing done in Egypt and other areas in the region the following day?

Why didn’t the president address these issues the next day and ensure adequate forces were available throughout the region? Lastly, the only reason forces were not available is that there was not a timely decision in Washington to deploy them.

Our military forces, we have learned, work quite well together. If the forces necessary in the area were under the command of a nearby commander, for example, under European command instead of Africa command as the Sentinel story stated, that reassignment could be handled literally in two sentences.

I have been on the receiving end of one of those directives. The first sentence directs the owning command to transfer operational control of the asset to the gaining command. The second sentence directs the gaining command to take operational control of the asset and execute the mission. Action then happens immediately.

The U.S. military is, and always has been, subservient to civilian control. The system depends on a decision from the president.

He didn’t make the decision. His indecision resulted in the deaths of four good men. The following cover-up is unconscionable.

KENNETH BROWNLEE

Grand Junction

Wealthy people, corporations 
send needed funds overseas

There has been little expanded commentary on the consequences of highly profitable and wealthy U.S. entities using tax loopholes, evasion and harmful actions regarding our economy.

Despite stated income tax rates of 35 percent for corporations and wealthy individuals, these entities actually only contribute to federal revenue at rates averaging 18 percent. Many Fortune 500 companies and 2,100 individual millionaires paid no income tax in 2011.

The Cayman Islands are sequestering from profitable or wealthy entities’ own governments and economies $1.6 trillion — with a “t.” Other Caribbean islands and Swiss banks have another $19 trillion to $29 trillion. Economists will tell you that every dollar injected into or removed from an economy will have a fivefold impact.

Thus, the resultant financial impact to government deficits from these offshore havens is almost unfathomable. Yet the perpetrators are lambasting the governments for their deficits and have the audacity to call for bigger tax breaks for themselves and benefit reductions for the elderly, unemployed, children and disabled.

The recent federal stimulus plan was supposedly big at $816 billion. One — yes, just one — U.S. corporation, Exxon Mobil, had more than that amount in revenue in the same period. If corporations are as patriotic as they relate, why didn’t they make even nominal expenditures on research, minor equipment purchases, facility maintenance, increased dividends to shareholders and other measures so that we wouldn’t have needed a federal stimulus?

Big business instead continued to invest in manufacturing, customer service and even professional jobs in China, the Far East and India … and shuffled even more money to offshore tax shelters. Corporations are sitting on $2 trillion of idle cash right now.

If wealthy entities continue to beat down government and economies with their selfishness and manipulation, there is a disastrous future for 70 percent of Americans.

JOEL PRUDHOMME

Grand Junction



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