Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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September 19, 2007 - MidWeek
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Slom barks back

Doggone it! I love Roy Chang’s cartoons but his contribution last week showing Gov. Lingle walking the four remaining state Senate Republican dawgs is, well, bow-wow.

I hate to bark, but he shows a much smaller, trailing, spectacled mutt on a Lingle leash with three other canines, walking in the park. It has the name “Slom” on its coat.

Everyone who knows me knows I am a cat person (as is the governor), not short and stumpy, that I lead more than follow, and certainly wouldn’t sit still for a leash from any government entity.

Mr. Chang is very talented, but this work is over the pound. It may be the first violation of the state’s new (2007) animal cruelty felony law. However, his editorial text is correct: “They don’t seem to miss the one that ran away recently ...”

Aloha and meow.

Sam Slom

State Senator (Hawaii Kai to Diamondhead) Proud Member of the GOP Senate Fearsome Foursome


Coffee: dead wrong

As a U.S. Army officer, I was extremely disappointed to read Jerry Coffee’s column “This Is No Way To Win AWar” - especially considering the author’s military background.

Mr. Coffee implies that the SEAL team was forced to make a bad decision, and that he would rather they had been able to execute three unarmed Afghan goatherds.

I would be ashamed for anyone to think this represents the U.S. military. There is no way, no circumstance, no place in the world, where I have the right to take three unarmed civilian prisoners and shoot them. This is murder, a war crime which carries a maximum punishment of death. It is inconceivable to me that a former military officer would not be aware of this.

Besides the ethical and legal aspect, it also runs counter to our military doctrine to murder civilians. A key part of the insurgency vs. counterinsurgency fight is to win the hearts and minds of the civilians. Every time we destroy a house or damage crops, we have to weigh the military benefits against the setback to our cause. The team did the right thing.

When we step onto the battlefield as combatants, we claim the right to kill other human beings who are combatants; at the same time we are obliged to take reasonable precautions to protect civilians, even if it means higher risk to ourselves. Just because the other side is evil doesn’t mean that we sink to the same level. We are America, for heaven’s sake.

The motto of the Army Special Forces is “de opresso liber” - to free the oppressed. The oppressed are people (like those three goatherds) who we are supposed to be liberating from the Taliban. Several years ago there was a story of an officer in the final phase of the Special Forces course who “executed” a non-combatant role player during the final phase of the yearlong course. Needless to say, he didn’t graduate, and other team members who were involved were recycled to an earlier phase. Again, this is not what the American military does, in any branch, special ops or not.

Jon Winchester Major, U.S. Army

Hickam AFB


War, ferry parallels

I was one of those 60 “local war protesters” Dan Boylan mentioned in his column “Protest The War, Not A Ferry.” I agree with him that the turnout was disappointing, considering the apparent lies and horrors of this misbegotten war.

He laments, “King Street should have been lined with anti-war protesters - from Moiliili to Nuuanu Stream. They should have drawn the attention of the press - at least equal to that of the surfers who put themselves in the path of the Superferry.”

But then Dan chastised the Superferry protesters on Kauai. I think he (and others who are angry about the Superferry blockade) are missing an important point. The political sidestepping and corporate shenanigans involved in helping the Superferry owners avoid the responsibility of completing the EIS is not that different from the lies and sidestepping undertaken by the Bush administration to justify invading and occupying Iraq.

The motives are the same and the way of seeing people, the earth, politics and money is the same.

Linda Lingle and the Superferry folks saw a way to circumvent the law to push forward a profit-making enterprise that would on the surface be “good for the people of Hawaii.” The Bush administration flouted laws and lied to push forward an invasion that would be “good for the American people.”

Essentially those in power in Hawaii and those inWashington lied to get what they wanted.

Rebeca Brabenec

Honolulu

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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