To the Editor:
The paradox of war — death, sadness, love, happiness — is not by choice. The controversy over Lt. Michael Behenna’s imprisonment for actions while sacrificing his honor and duty during combat offers no explanation for what is right or wrong. From World War II, Korea, Vietnam and presently, statistics indicate that only 17 percent of the military are ever involved in actual combat. Did Lt. Behenna’s judges or jury members ever experience combat? It would be interesting to know how they would respond facing the same hostile situation that Lt. Behenna encountered.
Civilian casualties are evident in all wars, but few military members have been court martialed other than a limited number of male and female Nazi war criminals. I’ve been back to Normandy five times. I’ve seen the 9,000-plus tombstones in the Normandy American Cemetery and at the Muesse Argonne near Verdun, France, where my uncle is among the 14,000 dead Americans from World War I. I’ve been to concentration camps — Auschwitz, Dachau, Amersfort and the Jeath site at the River Kwai Bridge in Thailand. Many of those dead, brave men would have been court martialed relative to today’s rule of war.
Wars kill more civilians than military personnel. Nineteen thousand French citizens died during the Normandy invasion. English cities suffered horrendous civilian losses. Allied bombers destroyed Dresden, Germany, shortly before the war ended killing nearly 100,000 German citizens. I’ve been to Nagasaki, Japan, where the second A-bomb killed thousands. While visiting with Col. Paul Tibbets, pilot of the B-25 that dropped the first A-bomb, a person asked if he had regrets. His answer was a strong “Hell no!”
Modern day war apparently is different. Lt. Behenna was court martialed and sentenced to prison for defending himself and his troops. I feel sorrow for the young man. As President John Kennedy said, “Life is not fair.” Lt. Behenna presently is a member of the “Life is not Fair” club. Hopefully, his membership will be canceled.
To the Editor:
Americans deserve the truth on Benghazi
Lately, the media has been consumed by the controversies surrounding the White House. Among these controversies is the horrific terrorist attack on the United States’ diplomatic compound in Benghazi that took place Sept. 11, 2012. As more people come forward with additional information regarding the attack on the consulate, many Americans, including myself, are still asking for the truth.
The Obama Administration and the State Department have been less than forthcoming with key information on Benghazi and recent information points toward a major cover-up.
Seizure of AP phone records insult to independent press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
HEY HINK: Some people just are not cut out for command
Recent headlines cause me to remember an incident that occurred on an army base some years ago. Warning here: I’m taking some liberties with names and details, but the basic outline of events is accurate.
A certain company commander, let’s call him Captain Duntz, had command of a motor pool on a large army base in the continental U.S.
We’ve become our own worst enemies
The past couple months have been marked by a seeming unprecedented number of man-made tragedies, as distinct from those caused by violent outbursts of the natural world, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.
You don’t want to dwell too long on the negative, but we do have to take notice of horrific human events and we owe it to ourselves to respond to them in some way. We don’t always agree on those responses, however, and that usually exacerbates the problem.
Let’s reimburse higher ed for remediation costs
The good news: Oklahoma schools are teaching phonics. The bad news: It’s in college.
Students at Tulsa Community College, for example, can take a college English course called “Spelling and Phonics,” which “helps students master basic spelling literacy, principles of phonics and decoding skills.”
This sort of higher education brings to mind former Boston University president John Silber’s quip: “Higher than what?”
AGAINST THE GRAIN: Department of Commerce highlights Main Street successes
The 24th annual Oklahoma Main Street Awards Banquet was at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum last week. Oklahoma Department of Commerce Secretary Dave Lopez addressed the gathering, and spoke of how the Commerce Department works with Main Street organizations throughout the state that are working to improve their downtown areas. Lopez pointed out that the partnership between his department and those local organizations has brought new life to those communities and that the attendees would see some of that revitalization in a video presentation. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin also addressed the gathering, and said the Main Street program has resulted in more than $1 billion in investments in the state and more than 1 million volunteer hours in its 24 years of operation.
OUR VIEW: Be Edmond needs your help
BMX star and local legend Mat Hoffman knows what’s it like to fall from great heights and find yourself at one of the worst low points in life. He also knows how to climb back up and tackle life’s problems head on.
No Americans forgotten in Benghazi
More than eight months ago on Sept. 11, the nation was shaken by the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Claiming the lives of four innocent Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, that horrific night still demands further investigation before it can be laid to rest. Due to an uncooperative administration and State Department who attempted to downplay the terrorist attack just eight weeks before the presidential election, we still don’t know the truth.
Saying goodbye to the earmark
When a new legislator, I worked to learn some of the more hidden and less-than-transparent aspects in the way Oklahoma politicians spent our taxpayer dollars. This wasn’t easy as even some legislators are left in the dark regarding the mechanics of how the legislative budget process is abused to the benefit of the most powerful of politicians.
HEY HINK: Think like a gaur before deciding on gun debate
Have you ever heard of a gaur? It’s the largest living member of the bovine family. A large gaur bull can weigh more than a ton and a half. His body may be nearly 11 feet long and he may be more than 7 feet tall at the shoulder. This is a huge, enormously powerful animal that could, no doubt, do a terrific amount of work if it would ever allow itself to be hitched to a plow. But it won’t. Man has never been able to offer the gaur a deal that would persuade it to become domesticated.
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