Letters for Thursday — January 26, 2006

• Hang in there • Open letter to President Bush • Backs up his opinion • Bike path, warning signs needed

Hang in there

The basic conflict in this country… and indeed, the entire world … is the voice of reason vs. the voice of religious madness. In times of crisis … terror, turmoil and terminal greed .. .the world often gets a Nero instead of a Churchill and we’re stuck with a Nero in spades!

What fascinates a nonbeliever is that, while most sane Americans can see the essential madness in the Islamic-controlled states, no one on the religious right hears the madness in his or her own voice.

To all sane citizens, of whatever belief or non-belief, I say “Hang in there. We’re gainin’ on ’em.”

  • Bettejo Dux
    Kalaheo

Open letter to President Bush

Mr. President, please stop insulting the intelligence of the American people. It is one thing that you have been using wiretaps on American citizens without court order, and it is another thing to feed your people lame excuses and lies.

First, you did not trust the laws of this country that put you in power, and you did not even start a formal procedure to change them before or after authorizing the secret wiretaps. Second, you have been saying throughout these years that it was in our interest. No, sir, any breaking of the law cannot be in the interest of the American people who have been working hard for the prosperity of this nation for the past 230 years. You and your vice-president are insulting the intelligence of the people who had elected you. (Or did they?)

We hear more and more excuses of why you did what you did, but on January 1st, when being asked about the secret wiretaps you made a public statement saying that only incoming calls were monitored by your special authorization. Please forgive me, Mr. President; you want us to believe it? Even the most incompetent intelligence organization in the world would want to know the called party’s next step if he gets a call from a hostile organization. So, they have to listen on the outgoing calls too. What if a sleeper in the US gets only a coded message “Please call cousin Fred”, upon which he should call his contact or carry out an action? Then our National Security Agency wouldn’t be interested? If they were not, I would not entrust them even with guarding a nursing home.

Let me take it further. Do you or your intelligence service really believe that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are so dumb that they would call their secret assets, the sleepers in their homes or offices in the US and give instructions to them overtly? The organization that has been successful for years in hiding its leader from the most advanced intelligence organization and the most advanced military of the world (so may we think) defying the 50 million dollar bounty?

Vice President Cheney acts not less insulting either. On the second day after the disclosure of the secret wiretaps on American citizens he made a public statement, saying that these wiretaps were justified. “Don’t you see that there were no terrorist attacks in the US for four years,” he said. The vice president’s statement is slightly plausible only if he expects the next terrorist attack in the US by US citizens or with US citizen involvement. That’s a great trust in the people! Let me remind you that the issue is not just eavesdropping; it is eavesdropping on American citizens without a court warrant.

Americans don’t deserve these insults! Mr. President, you can do better than that! Or can you?

  • János Samu
    Kalaheo

Backs up his opinion

I wish I had a nickel for every time a religious believer presumed to tell me, an atheist, what atheists believed or what they would do when they die. Gordon Oswald’s letter (22 Jan 06 GI) would have put me over the million-dollar mark.

Mr. Oswald claims I was “whining that no one understands” me and then offers to “help the atheists among us understand.” Mr. Oswald, you are not an atheist so I find it difficult to believe that you understand much about us at all. As far as my “whining” is concerned, I make a point of carefully researching my letters and I challenge you to find anything in my letters that was not factual. Surely you have no problem with the truth, Mr. Oswald … do you?

In May 1942, a troop ship carrying elements of the independent 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment left New York for England. My father was a sergeant on that ship. That unit, later designated as the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, would end the war with the most combat experience of all the U.S. airborne units. My father was an atheist then and he was still an atheist when he died in 1997. He reached for no imaginary god when he died but he did attend the church services when he was in the Army. That was what people did in those days. If it wasn’t required then it was at least expected.

When I started my own career in the Army, chapel attendance was mandatory for all cadets at West Point. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that the U.S. Congress made such attendance optional. In spite of this change, the military is still infected with people who use their position of rank and authority in order to impose their religion on others. The recent scandal at the Air Force Academy involving Christians and senior officers harassing students because of their religious beliefs is proof of that.

Mr. Oswald also says that “all atheists are really agnostic.” I can’t speak for all atheists the way that he can but I can speak for myself. I consider myself to be an agnostic atheist. In other words, I don’t believe any gods exist (atheism) but I don’t believe it is possible to prove either way (agnosticism). By that same reasoning it may also be said that all theists are really agnostic. A Christian may believe that a god exists but it is impossible to prove either way.

No, Mr. Oswald, I don’t call myself an atheist for the attention. I call myself an atheist because that is what I am. As I said earlier, my letters are factual. Besides, I notice that you have letters printed in the paper, too. In fact, in the 15 Dec 05 GI, you wrote that you “feel an extreme amount of pity for individuals who have an orgasmic experience when they participate in immature, unintelligent, and hateful name-calling.” Mr. Oswald “doth protest too much, methinks.”

  • Brian Christensen
    Lihu’e

Bike path, warning signs needed

Had the bike path been functional, maybe the drowning fatality at Donkey Beach on Sunday could have been avoided by emergency crews arriving faster and closer (carrying their equipment) to Donkey’s.

In addition, the highway side paved parking lot above Donkey’s is a direct invitation to the unwary visitor to “enjoy” remote Donkey’s. Are there really enough warning signs there for visitors to really be adequately informed about this great (and ferocious) Pacific Ocean?

  • Jay Trennoche
    Kapa’a
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