Don't squander Iraq gains | July 26, commentary by John McCain
McCain puts his myopia on display I was taken aback Saturday to open the St. Petersburg Times and find the op-ed by John McCain that was rejected by the New York Times. I thought you were giving Sen. McCain a break. I was wrong. It was the New York Times that gave him a break by not letting this drivel onto its pages. The St. Petersburg Times, by running the piece, has allowed McCain to write his own fitting epitaph to a week where we watched him move from slightly befuddled candidate to a running joke as he confused recent Iraq history.
McCain's myopic view of the Iraq conflict is in full view, in this piece, when he says about Obama, "I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war — only of ending it. But if we don't win the war, our enemies will."
This total lack of understanding of how occupations and insurgencies end — insurgents generally win by wearing down an occupier's political will to fight over a prolonged period, not by defeating them on the field — gives a very broad hint that John McCain's mind is still mired in the lessons in conventional tactics he learned at Annapolis (where he finished 894th out of 899).
It was reported that David Shipley, New York Times editor who turned down McCain's op-ed, said that the article, "would have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory." But this is where the senator, who can be heard regularly roaring about his war and foreign policy bona fides, is never clear. He cannot tell us what "victory" is or what he means by "winning."
We need a global thinker in the White House, not another flag-waver who attempts to reduce the complexity of the Middle East to them vs. us.
D.B. Hessler, Tampa Don't squander Iraq gains | July 26, commentary by John McCain
Candidate resorts to crass political attack
How ironic that on the same day the Times printed a letter to the editor taking you to task for publishing what amounted to a free political ad for John McCain, you chose to run yet another free McCain campaign piece. Even worse, you published a McCain op-ed the New York Times had rejected as being overly partisan and poorly written.
The New York Times had solid journalistic reasons for rejecting this piece. Their editors recognized it for what it was: a campaign press release attacking Barack Obama, rather than a legitimate op-ed column. They invited McCain to rewrite the piece, asking that it "articulate, in concrete terms, how Sen. McCain defines victory in Iraq. It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory — with troops levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate."
This sounds perfectly reasonable to me. And if the McCain campaign had been interested in clearly presenting their differences with Sen. Obama on Iraq, they would have rewritten it, re-submitted it, and voters would have been better informed for the effort.
Instead, McCain's camp chose to score cheap political points against Obama by crying "liberal bias" on the part of the New York Times.
I've always admired the high standards of journalism practiced by the St. Petersburg Times. How sad you've chosen to put those standards aside by running this crass piece of political theater.
Bill Hirschi, Ocala
Senate fails to act on oil speculation | July 26, story
Greed fuels price rise
I wish the Times had plastered this story on the front page in bold print instead of just a small two-column item on the next page.
I think if more people understood what is driving up the cost of gas they would be outraged at our representatives for not passing Bill Nelson's legislation limiting oil speculation and closing various loopholes that need to be addressed.
It wasn't so long ago that President Bush went to the Saudis and asked for more production and they informed him that production was in line with consumption and that world demand hasn't risen in more than a year. Shocking isn't it?
Where's Harry Truman when we need him?
Daniel Orsello, Tampa
Who will help us?
No wonder national polls show people have a very low opinion of the job Congress is doing. It is a do-nothing Congress.
As everyone now knows, the price of oil has been increasing in the past five years from about $32 per barrel to a high of $147. The Saudis, OPEC and the oil companies say that they have no control over the oil prices. President Bush says he has no "magic wand" to control the price of oil. That leaves the oil futures commodity traders and speculators as the only ones who actually determine the price of oil.
It has been assumed that some wanton speculation in the oil markets has been going on since the price of oil has climbed so rapidly with no signs that a shortage exists.
Since the ever-increasing price of oil is adversely affecting every aspect of our lives and economy, the Democrats proposed an amendment to curtail and limit oil futures commodity trading and speculations. It did not pass.
What a sad state of affairs.
V. Paradis, Seminole
Karadzic's changing face of evil | July 25, editorial
A double standard
Radovan Karadzic has already been effectively convicted of genocide and the idea that he will receive a fair trial in front of the Islamic world at the Hague is ludicrous. If he were ever found innocent, the uproar in the Islamic world would be unbearable, especially when a barrel of Saudi crude costs more than $120.
Karadzic and the Bosnian Serbs were involved in a brutal civil war where all sides did their best to destroy and defeat the enemy, yet it is only the Serbs who seem to have to answer for any war crimes that may have occurred in the Bosnian civil war.
The Muslim commander of Srebrinca and Bosnian "hero" Nasir Oric was recently cleared of war crimes at the Hague despite openly bragging about killing Serbian civilians. Oric used the "safe haven" of Srebrenica as a staging area for his troops to launch barbarous attacks into Serbian-controlled areas only to retreat back to the "safe area" under the protection of U.N. troops. Oric's actions made a mockery of the so called "safe haven" of Srebrenica and this elicited the response of Bosnian Serbs who had had enough of Oric's criminal actions at that time.
The double standards are immense and it is no wonder the Serbs distrust the Hague.
Dr. Aleksandar Petrovic, St. Petersburg
Balkan community split on Karadzic | July 24, story
A priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church justifies Radovan Karadzic's genocide because "that's part of warfare."
If that is the moral basis of Serbian society, no wonder all of the other Yugoslav nationalities wanted out of a Yugoslavia dominated by Serbs. Stephen Zaremba also seems to have forgotten that the warfare was started by the Serbs to prevent the freedom of other nationalities.
Michael P. Porter, Clearwater