Letters to the Editor

February 24, 2003

Dear Telluride Watch (Editor),

The Children's Hospital CHIP Program wants to thank TAB, the community of

Telluride and the Telluride Watch for you perseverance in support, both

financial and emotionally to the families and children living with HIV and

AIDS from Children's Hospital in Denver. You are an incredible community

that has shown collective strength through the Telluride AIDS Benefit, your

support and hard work on the TAB fashion show and silent art action. You

should all be proud.

With appreciation,

Melissa Reid Carpenter & The CHIP Team


Feb 27, 2002

Dear Editor, 

Concerning the Iraq conundrum:

There is no arguing that terrorism is a threat to our nationís physical and economic status. The terroristsí goal is to keep us off balance, and to destroy our way of life. They have been partially successful. It would be horrible if there were more attacks, no matter the size. Having said that, a much larger threats to our way of life are what happening right here, right now. One example is the cancerous deterioration of our urban areas. Many, many people die on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis because of the influx of all sorts of drugs, and the resultant murders, property crime, rising insurance costs, etc. The cost to our country has to be in the billions. We have savage dictatorships right here, in the persons of big city drug lords, and we cannot solve that problem. If we want a fight against the potential destruction of the fabric of our nation, it is right here. In fact, if you go to Washington D.C., the seat of our government, and the home of the Justice department, there is rampant crime and deterioration just blocks away. We have all sorts of battles waiting inside the bounds of our country, including potentially bankruptive escalating health care costs. But what do we do? Our administration decides to go 6,000 miles around the world to overthrow a savage dictator because he has not lived up to his end of the bargain, in spite of the fact that it will cost our country untold billions of dollars, lives of our soldiers, the lives of innocent Iraqis, really will not make our country any safer, and will make our economy even worse than it is.

Our administration is using following reasons to invade Iraq:

a. Saddam Hussein is a bad guy.
b. Saddam Hussein has, or may have Weapons of Mashtrushin. Pardon me, Mass Destruction.
c. He has violated UN resolutions.
d. He could develop nuclear weapons.
e. He is a threat to his own people, neighbors, and potentially to us.
f. Iraqis should be liberated from oppression, and there should be regime change.

No one argues any of these points. Iraq would be better off without Saddam, but if we use the above reasons, we will invade all kinds of countries as time goes on; Iran, Yemen, North Korea, Pakistan, India, a few in Africa, and for fun and adventure, China. It is not difficult to find places where there are potential enemies, destructive weaponry, and manís inhumanity to man. The above reasons arenít the real ones. There has to be something else. It all rings so untrue. Perhaps there is solid proof that Saddam is behind most worldwide terrorism. Or perhaps it has something to do with George W. Bush trying to tie up for some loose ends related to George H.W. Bush and the 1991 Gulf War, and the fact that there was an assassination attempt on him later. Perhaps it has to do with oil. Do you think maybe? It can only be an altruistic motive, because, after all, we are seeking peace. Itís just that we may have to kill a few thousand Iraqis, and sacrifice a few thousand more of our own, along the way. That should not be necessary. With the technology we have, we should engage in nothing but surgical strikes and put as few ground troops in harmís way as possible.
If Iraq is violating UN resolutions, then it seems to me that it is a UN problem. How does it become only the United Statesí problem? Imagine if Russia or China used our justifications and stormed Iraq? We might think they were a little out of line. It seems that it would be better to accumulate as many members of the UN as possible as a united front to remove Saddamís weapons, or him from power. That certain knowledge could possibly make any invasion unnecessary. But we had to draw our sword and lay down the law. It reminds me of a 4th grader who says he is going to beat someone up, then tells them many, many times, that they get one last chance all the while checking to see if his toadies are behind him, hoping to accumulate more toadies.
Letís say, now, that we do lead the charge into Iraq, regardless of a majority of U.S. opinion, and a vast majority of world opinion. What then? Who or what are we going to attack? Does the Bush administration somehow imagine that the people of Baghdad and the rest of Iraq will gleefully race up to our soldiers waving American flags? Does it imagine that Saddam Hussein will see the light and cry Uncle? It may end up being easy, but the probable reality is that many people on both sides will die, and that many months or years will pass before there is any true resolution to the problem, along with that alienating other Middle East countries and untold others.
I want to ask some questions of the ultra-conservative hawks; the Rush Limbaughs, the Sean Hannitys, the Michael Savages , Tucker Carlsons, Robert Novacks, Ann Coulters, Laura Ingrahams, Donald Rumsfeld, and all the way up to George W. We would get straight answers. When pigs fly.

1. What is an acceptable number of our forces to sacrifice? And donít say none, because that is a convenient, politically correct answer. A certain loss of life has already been factored into the equation, as if it is some sort of game or business plan.

2. What is an acceptable number of Iraqi citizens to sacrifice?

3. Are you going to the front lines? I would love to see a masked Rush Limbaugh trudging around Baghdad as the mustard gas lies heavy in the air.

There would be a whole lot of fumbling and mumbling before a straight answer to these questions is given, especially the last one. I would be the first one to cheer on our combatants, as long as they include the children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives of the Radio and Television Conservatives, the hawks in the halls of Congress and the administration, all the way to the President. If that criterion was met, we would never go to war.
Here is another question: How many billions of dollars do we spend if this drags on and on? The latest wrinkle is that Turkey is going to allow us to station our troops in their country. Allow. For a mere 20 billions dollars or more. Think of the precedent that sets. Who pays for it?
I have some suggestions. Anyone who has a pulse knows that our economy is in trouble. People with 401Ks and other retirement accounts have lost a lot of money in the first two years of the Bush administration. It is now in the third year, too late to blame everything on Bill Clinton. People without retirement accounts find it difficult to make ends meet, and many have lost their jobs. Fuel costs are rising, unemployment is up, and consumer and investor confidence is down. The vast majority of our people cannot afford to help pay for a war that could cost a trillion dollars. And by the way, how are we going to pay for this endless drain and cut taxes? To make matters worse, our president misses no opportunity to makes his tired, well-rehearsed ďWeíre gonna disarm this manĒ Preaching to the Choir speech, and the effect is usually a steady downward spiral of the stock market. The Far Right claims that the economy is just fine, and that there is no recession, and if there is, it is not their fault. Let those who are happy with their bank accounts, and who are so gung ho about charging into Iraq put their money where their mouths are. Let them write some large checks specifically earmarked for the war.
A more serious suggestion: There is terrorism, real or just below the surface in the planning stages. There are those who fund it. It may be Saudi Arabia, it may be Osama bin Laden (from Saudi Arabia), it may be Saddam Hussein. If we are able to corner that money, it should be used, all of it, to compensate countries engaged in the war on terror. That is the real war, and a difficult one to attack. There is no easy, specific target, so it appears that Iraq has become the dog to kick. That is what people have a hard time understanding.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Bush administration is Hell-bent on rampaging into this war no matter what, no matter how illogical or inconsistent their rationale. Additionally, they have done an atrocious job at diplomacy, and getting others on board. Cowboy diplomacy does not work, except for those with a mindset to sit back and watch a television war, like watching football or pro wrestling. This is not a game, and is not a sport. This is life and death.
When you have time, watch the movie JFK. In the middle of it is a great, long scene between Kevin Costner and Donald Sutherland, who plays a former CIA operative. He explains why Vietnam went on so long when it could have been curtailed. It might give a clue as to some motivations for this looming, potential catastrophe. It has to do with money, power, and the military.
A few months ago, I talked with a real former CIA undercover operative. He said that the decision to go into Iraq has been made for some time, and all that we are hearing now is meaningless; a lot of sound and fury and smoke and mirrors. It is a fait accompli.

The only thing that could happen to make me feel better concerning the Iraq situation is that worldwide intelligence indeed has some information that we do not know about, and should not know, making it absolutely necessary to proceed as threatened. If that is not the case, invest in duct tape.

Respectfully submitted,

Zenus McQueen