Troops aren’t at war; bring them home now

To the editor:

In his letter published in Thursday’s newspaper, Verlon Berkemeyer asked: “How do you want the troops to come home?”

As a citizen, I want them to come home now, with both their legs, both their arms, and no more traumatized than they are at present. But mostly, now and standing, as Mr. Berkemeyer said: “tall and proud … confident and victorious.” Because that’s what they are, having gotten rid of a dictator and established an elected government whose job it is now either to stand or fail on its own.

As a veteran, it bothers me to hear all the talk about the “war” in Iraq. It is not a war. Never has been (or else we’d have won in the first six months what we haven’t “won” in six years). A group of six or eight men walking or three in a Hummer driving along a street are not fighting a war; they are presenting themselves as shooting gallery targets.

In a war, mullahs such as Muqtada al-Sadr and his private army would have been taken out long ago. Towns or areas of cities with a large al-Qaida presence would have been bombed flat.

Iraq is an Iraqi country in Iraqi hands — thanks to all the killed and injured U.S. servicemen and women — and it is now their problem. Let us leave now, with our equipment and vehicles, rather than run as we did in that other fiasco, Vietnam.

As to those who say we must stay until we win, my question is: “Win what?”

George Appleton

LAS VEGAS

School choice

To the editor:

Americans are free only to the extent that they may freely choose their actions, with the sole restriction that their choice does not infringe upon another’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are free to choose where we shop, where we travel, where we eat and were we spend both public and private dollars for education — with the single exception of K-12 public education.

In all other endeavors where customers are free to choose, we are the envy of the entire world. Why is it, then, that we would deny our children the opportunity for the best possible education? Of course, we wouldn’t, if given the choice.

School choice is an idea whose time has come. I am elated to know that Nevada parents and children might at long last have the opportunity for this freedom that has so long been denied, as an advocacy group has taken steps to put a voucher initiative on November’s ballot (Political Notebook, Monday Review-Journal).

I predict that Nevadans will opt for this freedom in November, and that Nevada will go from the bottom of the barrel in K-12 education to near the top within five years.

John Vettel

CARSON CITY

Travel to Cuba

To the editor:

The embargo to topple Fidel Castro from power in Cuba never worked. Instead it was the Cuban people who suffered because of it.

Isn’t it amazing that we had shooting wars with China during the Korean War, and Vietnam during that conflict and lost more than 50,000 military in each case, but now are on friendly terms with these countries, while Cuba, whom we never fought, is still a pariah?

Castro has resigned, so there’s no need for the embargo anymore. We could help the Cuban people by simply removing trade and travel restrictions. It is 90 miles from our shores, as we’ve heard many times. I’m sure many Americans would visit there, providing needed jobs and helping average Cubans.

Richard J. Mundy

LAS VEGAS

Water rates

To the editor:

Here we go again. The Tuesday hearing to consider another spurt in water rates provided a terrific solution to the drought situation in Clark County: Squeeze the consumers dry and fill the water district tanks (“Rates rise in April for water,” Wednesday Review-Journal). This should provide much-needed pay increases for the Las Vegas Valley Water District administrative staff — and of course continued spewing water on county parks turf.

But then, if all water use is restricted to one toilet flush per day per person, one glass of water per day per person, restaurants washing dishes only one day per week, fire departments throwing sand on burning buildings, etc., an amazing amount of water can be saved, allowing Lake Mead and various aquifers to replenish supplies to a point where we can again return to the splashes to which we have become accustomed.

In the meanwhile, let’s build more golf courses, high-rise hotels, condominiums and houses that can’t be sold.

I’ll save my teardrops for future use.

Robert S. Tobias

LAS VEGAS

Seasoned citizens

To the editor:

I’m sure that the majority of seasoned citizens living in the valley haven’t escaped the attention of at least some of those with intelligence in the Review-Journal’s editing staff. As a seasoned citizen myself, I am outraged at Jim Day’s Thursday editorial cartoon, which turned the M in “McCain” into a walker. I mean, is attacking a Republican presidential candidate because of his age the best this pathetic clod can do?

Sen. John McCain seems to have little trouble walking or maintaining a hectic campaign schedule. I think it quite possible that with an attitude like this, Mr. Day might be needing a walker before Sen. McCain … if you know what I mean.

Norman Yeager

HENDERSON

Take the over

To the editor:

A new City Hall for the city of Las Vegas will cost $150 million? Yeah, sure. Where do I go to bet the “over” on that fairy tale?

Jerry Fink

LAS VEGAS

Saved

To the editor:

In response to your Tuesday article, “Hookers for Jesus”: Why is it that nobody ever finds Jesus on prom night?

Religion is so utterly ridiculous.

Joe Genovese

LAS VEGAS

Missed the point

To the editor:

Your Feb. 14 editorial (“Lake Mead dry as a bone?”) fundamentally misunderstands the research on climate change recently released by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists. They are not “predicting” that the lake will go dry. Rather, they are saying that if climate change occurs as we expect, and no actions are taken in the form of reducing excessive demand on the Colorado River, the reservoir will go dry.

It’s not the scientists who are gambling with the river’s future. It is the humans who have placed excessive water demands that simply cannot be met by nature. And the assumptions made by the researchers are by no means “the worst-case scenario.” These assumptions are sufficiently conservative and realistic that water planners and city managers had better start paying attention now.

Peter Gleick

OAKLAND, CALIF.

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