Published letters, September 19, 2012
I recently listened to the secretary of state and the president speak at a ceremony to honor the return of the bodies of our ambassador to Libya, two Marines and a foreign service employee.
I was struck that neither the secretary of state nor the president acknowledged the failure of our government to protect our embassies abroad. Foreign service is not a combat assignment. We should only have embassies in countries with which we have sufficiently positive relationships to ensure the country will protect our embassy or we provide enough military presence to ensure no group within the country will assail our sovereign presence there.
Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama spoke as if our foreign service people were casualties of a war instead of a failure of the host nation or us to protect our embassy. They did announce that we will increase the security at our embassies. But this is closing the barn after the horse is gone.
The deaths of these people are sufficient testimony that we are not protecting our embassies abroad. That our nation’s foreign policy leaders blame the deaths on an anti-Muslim movie is sufficient to conclude they are incompetent, not only to sense what security is required at our embassies but also to conduct the foreign policy of our nation with which they are charged.
We are running in place when it comes to jobs
It is months after the fact when economists tell us we are either in or out of a recession. We were in a recession in the spring of 2008, long before the financial crisis hit in September. TARP, the bailout for banks, was put into place under President Bush and it was TARP that averted a meltdown of our banking system. TARP funds were also used to bail out GM. If the banking system failed, we might have ended up in a depression.
Along comes President Barack Obama in January 2009, and his first order of business was to put into place an $800 billion-plus stimulus package to keep us from falling into a depression.
The fact is, by June of 2009 the economy was already recovering. This was before much of the stimulus could be distributed. It wasn’t needed to avoid a depression. It did prop up public-sector unions and subsidized green energy boondoggles. It should have given the recovery a nice push. It didn’t, because it did little to help the private sector.
The proof is our 8.3 percent unemployment. The weak recovery has not been creating enough new jobs for us to get ahead. The truth is no net jobs have been created.
We have been running in place. This economy needs government that can be trusted to be more help than hindrance.
September a good time to consider kind words
We welcome September, with its myriad of activities promoting education and health. We are grateful for the designation of September as suicide prevention month locally. The activities organized by the Suicide Prevention Foundation to reduce the suicide rate in our community are appreciated.
In addition, we hope that each on of us will take focused time this month to reflect upon and exercise those spiritual qualities that make our lives and those of others smoother, happier and buoyant with hope and productivity, thereby connecting us to a gentler inner self and the source that created us.
Love, goodwill, joy, patience, wisdom — all of these qualities in action, even when we appear to be down on our luck, disagree or feel disconnected — can buoy ourselves and others whom we may not even know are suffering.
While the issue of suicide is complex and sensitive, we believe we can begin to prevents its beginnings by seeing good in others and supporting the unselfish labors of the organizations, charitable institutions, private counselors and faith communities providing services and treatment to those in need.
Let us acknowledge this service as a proof that we are connected to one another in good, in worth, in beauty and in dignity. Let not a day pass without acknowledging the good in every person with whom we come in contact — especially those who are openly suffering. A kind word or deed may save a life.
BEV GOODRICH, Chairperson Grand Valley Interfaith Network
Who decides how to disribute aid for foreign countries?
With all the corruption we read about in the Middle East, we need to know: Who decides how much and to whom we give foreign aid?
I have heard that we gave the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt $2 billion. If that is true, it was a bad investment in view of the anti-American riots.
We need to know who determines who to give our tax dollars to so we can hold them accountable (if that is possible with all the secrets being kept in Washington.)
DAVE E. BROWN