A recent CityBeat news article ("Not a War of Words," issue of Oct. 11) argued that both U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt and I have been avoiding a frank discussion of the war in Iraq. While much of my time before audiences has been spent detailing my plans for improving health care for Ohioans, ensuring livable wages and building upon the promise of education for all Americans, I'm keenly aware that the war in Iraq is of central importance to our nation.
I am aware of the pain that the war has caused the families of the 133 Ohioans lost to date and the thousands more absent for holidays and daily life. I recognize the desire to help others less fortunate than us to achieve their aspirations of democracy, freedom and a brighter future, but since it first became a matter for consideration I have opposed the war in Iraq. From March 2003 until today, the prosecution of the war has been done with what can only be called a reckless disregard for the truth.
The truth is bittersweet. We have given Iraq a fresh chance for democracy and proven to our enemies that America will use all of its resources to serve its interests. But 85 Americans have lost their lives in Iraq this month, and Osama Bin Laden is still at large. The truth is that there were no weapons of mass destruction, no connection to al-Qaeda and a tense political atmosphere that demands far more than 120,000 troops and good intentions.
The architects of this plan have failed America and its armed forces by depleting their skilled and expert resources on a war that, according to a recent National Intelligence Estimate, has increased the risk of terror on U.S. soil and fattened the ranks of the Islamic-extremist movements.
I believe our soldiers have served honorably and with great success, and yet the time for soldiering has ended. They've completed their mission.
I support for a reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq beginning as soon as possible. Our gradual exit should be replaced by increased international cooperation and increased responsibility for the independent Iraqi government.
This withdrawal isn't just for military families. The war has severely restricted our ability to respond to more sincere threats from more aggressive nations. Currently, should Iran or North Korea escalate their threats, our Army would need months to restock, repair and train before it could be asked to fully respond.
I don't support a fixed timetable, but it's time for Iraqis to seize upon their own independence. "Stay the course" is a deer standing in the headlights of an increasingly bloody Iraq.
Our soldiers have shown incredible strength, and it's time for our public officials to show their mettle and make the tough decision to reevaluate their Iraq policy.
— Victoria Wulsin, M.D. Congressional Candidate, Ohio's 2nd District
Strickland Stands Out
As an Asbury College alumnae, I enjoyed Jim Phillips' cover story profile of Ted Strickland ("Outstanding in His Fields," issue of Oct. 18). I appreciated the even-handed reporting, sharing the life experiences that shaped Strickland and made him stand out from the herd.
Kudos to Ryan Greis and Geoff Raker as well — the cover art and layout made you want to read.
It seems that Strickland hasn't surrendered to the angry partisanship that marks today's political discourse. Finally, a candidate that citizens of different ideologies can support.
— Elena Stevenson, Loveland
Thanks for the savvy and insightful article on the situation surrounding state representative candidate Dale Mallory ("Dale's Deals," issue of Oct. 11). This seems to be a situation where unchecked power has led to serious abuses that should by no means be rewarded with public office anywhere, much less in a challenging and needy area such as this one.
Although I would generally be inclined to vote for a Democrat, your article makes doing this in good conscience impossible. Thanks for the excellent reporting.
— Gabriel Deutsch
GOP Not Moral at All
Some of us knew it even before the book Tempting Faith (by former Bush administration official David Kuo) came out. The promised federal ban on homosexual marriage, a principal goal of evangelicals, never materialized. Neither did all the money promised to religious charities.
In fact, some $20 million more was provided for "compassionate social programs" in the Clinton years than ever materialized under Bush.
One of the aftershocks of the Mark Foley scandal is the revelation that homosexuals can be Republican as well as Democrat. Homosexuals have served on the GOP congressional staff, the Bush cabinet departments downtown, as head of the GOP and even in the White House.
All this comes after Republicans on Capitol Hill have been caught in the Abramoff lobbying scandal, former GOP House leader Tom DeLay was indicted and forced to resign and Republican Congressmen Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham were convicted on corruption charges. Evangelicals must be wondering how they ever fell in with such bad company.
We shouldn't feel too bad, however. We're not alone. "There's a sucker born every minute," the master entrepreneur P.T. Barnum discovered long ago.
— George Theodore, Cincinnati