We should send more troops now
Putting my politics aside, I must speak out about the war in Afghanistan. I spent 35 years in the Army, many of those in Special Forces.
President Barack Obama ran on a platform that hammered home the mantra that Iraq was the wrong war and Afghanistan was the right war. Time and again he said he would fight and win the "right" war. Now is the time for the president to act. Regardless of the tactics chosen, the commanders on the ground all say they need more troops. Those are the experts. Those are the men who know. Those are the men charged with winning the war Obama has called the right war.
I spent two years fighting a war my government refused to support, and see the same thing happening now. President Obama needs to stop diddling around and fight the war. He needs to support the commanders. The blood of our soldiers and Marines will be on his hands alone if he continues to be indecisive.
His obsession with domestic affairs is having a detrimental impact on our foreign policy and international standing. We are being perceived as weak and ineffective. Send the troops, and send them now. Let the generals fight the wars.
Les Rayburn, Dade City
"A sobering reminder" | Oct. 30
It isn't worth the cost
I, for one, will be profoundly disappointed if the sight of the 18 flag-covered cases holding the remains of Americans killed last week in Afghanistan doesn't dissuade President Barack Obama from sending more troops overseas.
We are talking about human lives. And each of those 18 killed in Afghanistan have loved ones who are now grieving their loss. In my opinion, it just isn't worth the loss of life.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
A weak energy plan | Oct. 26, editorial
Energy conservation is the best way to go
A decision on energy conservation targets is a clear case for leadership from the Public Service Commission. I'm hopeful the commissioners will eventually heed the advice of the St. Petersburg Times to reject the staff proposal to let Florida electric utilities determine their own conservation targets.
Conservation is a no-brainer: It saves consumers money, reduces the need for facility expansion and capital expense, lessens the impact on the environment, and reduces dependence on unfriendly foreign sources of energy. This is not an area where the PSC can stand back and let short-term goals impact long-term success.
Let's challenge Florida's electric utilities and Florida's consumers with ambitious goals.
Jon Crawfurd, St. Petersburg
Unified effort needed
I worked in Fort Lauderdale when a tent city was set up in downtown to house the homeless. It was a terrible solution for them and for those who worked downtown.
Tents are not a long-term solution for living, even in Florida. Rainy, windy weather left people and cots soaked and folks got sick. Same thing for the tent that was used to feed folks. And privacy for women and children was not possible. I have no idea how many children encountered pedophiles on that site.
There is no easy answer to the national problem of homelessness, and among the bad answers is an effort to insist that each town has to handle the problem alone. Broward County and Fort Lauderdale finally agreed on a site to build a shelter, but a lot of potential residents did not want to abide by rules about liquor and drugs.
Even a joint county-city project is not enough, though. A surprising number of the homeless are veterans in great need of help due to brain damage. The VA needs to become involved in order to help solve the problem.
Federal funds in small amounts are available to local government to take over abandoned houses. That's a starting point, but a small one. Only a unified federal, state and local effort can make progress.
Sheryl Stolzenberg, Lake Mary
Homeless proposal half-baked | Oct. 22, editorial
Use closed military bases
As we all know, the homeless are all about us and they are slowly occupying St. Petersburg and other cities. They have been seen wandering down the streets in the best of neighborhoods pushing their carts with their life belongings. They have taken over our beautiful parks. They sleep on our park benches, requiring the rest of us to go elsewhere. They stand on our busiest street corners, shaking their signs to receive handouts. And they are shocking the tourists with their presence.
We must find a solution to this problem as it is making life uncomfortable for all who live here and they are degrading our beautiful city.
Catholic Charities deserves credit for making an honest effort to address the homeless problem. However, supplying only a few with tents does not come close to correcting the homeless problem.
Having been a member of our armed services, I feel the closed military bases would be a perfect place to house and train the homeless in order to put them back into society. These bases are equipped with administration buildings, ample housing, medical buildings, educational buildings, gymnasiums, basketball courts and retail stores.
Some of the homeless could be employed to maintain the grounds of the base and keep the buildings in repair. It would allow them to have a permanent address whereby they could find employment. There would be no neighbors complaining that they do not want the homeless residing under their windows. The homeless would be off our streets and we would have our city and parks back for all to enjoy.
Ronald C. Cole, St. Petersburg
The answer is jobs
Once again, the issue of what to do about the homeless has come up, with talk about putting them in a tent city or at the Floriland mall in Tampa.
What the homeless need is what America needs: jobs with living wages and affordable housing. This must be top priority for the president and Congress.
Until we put America back to work, there will be more crime and homelessness in your neighborhood, with or without your approval. Until we put America back to work, there will not be more money for more wars, insurance mandates, public options, schools, libraries, post offices, teachers, police or "Change we can believe in."
Ron Kuhler, Lutz
Vatican woos Anglicans | Oct. 21, story
Welcoming them home
If you have been following this news only in secular sources, it would appear that this is a political strategy of the Vatican to woo hapless Anglicans. Nothing is further from the truth.
Anglican laity and their clergy have been trickling into the Catholic Church, families in tow, for decades. Several dozen Anglican bishops have sent inquiries to the Vatican, their main reason being they are disaffected with the changing faces of their own traditions, and a departure from what they believe to be the truth within their church.
Pope Benedict XVI will take criticism for his courageous moves. It's to be expected. He is now 82, and since the pope began his pontificate, he has traveled the globe seeking peace and unity among all people. And he will continue to do so as did his predecessor. Catholic means universal. We welcome all our brothers and sisters home, not by coercion, but in peace, love and unity.
Beverly A. O'Neill, Pinellas Park