Two U.S. officers slain in Kabul | Feb. 26
No reason to stay in Afghanistan
The Afghanistan situation, with all its violence toward the United States, is extremely disturbing. In my opinion, there is no reason we, or any other civilized nation, should have any further presence there. Throughout history, the Middle East, and Afghanistan in particular, has proved to be the graveyard of all the many empires that tried to introduce change to the tribal systems.
The current situation of extremely violent and uncivilized reaction to the presence of Americans makes it obvious that we should immediately and completely remove ourselves from the country and not have anything further to do with it. The cost of our presence there has been outrageously high, particularly in terms of loss of life and limb. There is no longer any reason to add to it any further.
John Bednar, Dunedin
Owner of cat sanctuary faces charges Feb. 28
Policies lead to suffering
I applaud PETA for exposing the terrible conditions at Caboodle Ranch and for ensuring that the nearly 500 cats that have been suffering in this hellhole are seized.
What PETA's undercover investigator documented at Caboodle Ranch is simply unacceptable and a vivid reminder of how "no-kill" policies can lead to suffering. Cats were kept in putrid areas covered in vomit, trash and waste, and infested with roaches and maggots. Suffering and dying cats were denied veterinary care despite the investigator's repeated pleas to rush them for treatment. Cats with the fatal and communicable feline immunodeficiency virus and leukemia were allowed to roam and come in contact with noninfected cats, among many other abuses.
Other animals across Florida will be in danger of ending up in miserable facilities like Caboodle Ranch if the misleading "Animal Rescue Act" (SB 818/HB 597) becomes law. This legislation would allow self-proclaimed and unregulated "rescues" to force animal shelters to hand over animals. We must not let this happen. I urge every caring person to ask Rep. Joseph Abruzzo and Sen. Mike Bennett to withdraw this misguided bill.
Kimberly Rueden, Tampa
A Keynesian in the closet Feb. 26, commentary
Overspending caused crisis
Paul Krugman is usually portrayed as an expert on economics, but one statement in this column on Mitt Romney shows he doesn't understand even basic facts. He writes that Romney "has to be aware of the havoc austerity policies are wreaking in Greece, Ireland and elsewhere." What?
For years and years, these countries have continued to spend and spend until they've reached the point they're at now — broke.
By following the very policies that Krugman advocates, they now have no choice but to install austerity policies. If all the spending was such a good idea, then they shouldn't be having any problems and there would be no need for austerity, right?
Krugman has it exactly backward. Austerity didn't cause the havoc. Austerity was instituted because of the existing havoc brought on by wild overspending.
Jim Malachowsky, St. Petersburg
Wrong-way cyclist hit by patrol car | Feb. 28
Bicyclists must obey rules
I believe the trooper was in the right for citing the cyclist for riding against traffic. In a nutshell, it is against the law for anyone to ride or drive against the flow of traffic. If a car was traveling against the flow of traffic and hit the trooper, you can bet he would be cited. Bicycles operating on the road are no exception.
If cyclists want to share the road with cars and be given the same rights as people driving cars, they must obey traffic laws, plain and simple. Cyclists simply can't pick and choose which traffic laws they want to obey or disobey. In fact, it should probably be mandated that they obtain some for of liability insurance if they want to operate on roadways.
A simple solution for pedestrians and cyclists is to use some common sense in sharing the road with objects that outweigh you by a couple thousand pounds.
Nathan Stevic, Lutz
Woman jailed in burning of ancient cypress Feb. 29
One could accept, albeit sadly, if lightning had been the cause of the tragic loss of the great "Senator" cypress. Had an awesome element of nature taken down this giant, it would perhaps even have been fitting in the play of mighty earthly forces.
But to be told that this majestic and irreplaceable national treasure was burned from the inside, according to police by a 26-year-old drug user, is difficult to process.
Why in heaven's name was this esteemed monarch not properly protected? How was it that this person was able to access the interior of this extraordinary tree and "party" inside? Someone was definitely asleep at the wheel in maintaining stewardship of this priceless living wonder.
This precious creation could have existed for 1,000 more years had it not been destroyed. One hopes that the punishment will fit the crime.
Nanci E. Sherman, Dunnellon
Mum's the word on VA misdeed | Feb. 28, Daniel Ruth column
This retired Vietnam veteran is outraged that the agency entrusted to care for veterans seems to have taken an oath of silence over a medical center employee taking $1,371 over two years to refer patients to a private radiology company. I hope, probably in vain, to see this person charged, tried and imprisoned if found guilty, and the incompetent or complicit supervisors fired without benefits, at least. This "circling of the wagons" only encourages others to steal.
Joseph F. Bohren, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.), Odessa
Candidates spar over Michigan | Feb. 26
I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Rick Santorum accused President Barack Obama of being a snob because he wants to send people to college, where they will be "brainwashed" by liberal professors.
Santorum is a college graduate. How did he escape becoming a liberal snob? Most people encourage their children to get as much education as possible, whether it's college or technical school.
It sounds like Santorum is supporting the dumbing down of America. How sad for our country.
Carole J. Gallotta, Bradenton