Vilification of Arabs
Extremists get the headlines
Many see the violence in the Arab world against the United States and assume that nearly all Arabs burn with hatred for us. That's a bit like saying that, in America, because we average two to three mass shootings a year, every one of us is a deranged killer. The Libyan government expressed sorrow over the attack and meant it. They relied on Ambassador Chris Stevens. Most Libyans do not approve of the attacks, and millions of them remain grateful for the pivotal U.S. assistance to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi.
We hardly improved our standing in the Arab world by our feckless "war of choice" opposed by the entire world (including the United Kingdom and Spain, if you count their domestic sentiment against the war) in search of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and a ham-fisted occupation by Americans who generally spoke no Arabic. Neither has our inability to stop Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from building new settlements in the West Bank (a policy supported by only about one-half of Israelis) gone unnoticed by the Arab world, who see this as a gradual process by Israel to annex the West Bank and evict the Arabs from their farms and cities there.
The truth is, while a majority of Arabs distrust and even revile U.S. foreign policy, 99 percent are not directly connected with such violence. What drives the radicals in the Arab world? They wrongly assume that because a bunch of Christian survivalist bigots produced a ridiculously amateurish video staring a California surfer dude playing a sadistic, murderous Mohammed, this must represent the views of all Americans.
Unfortunately, in our current age, it's the extremists (survivalists on one side, terrorists on the other) who get the headlines and drive the debate.
Mark Cattell, Oldsmar
Young's stance on war praised, but not by McCain | Sept. 19
Let's get out now
Rep. C.W. Bill Young is correct. It is time for us to get out of the war. Sen. John McCain is wrong in saying it shows a weak America. Handled properly, it could be a show of strength.
Let's tell the entire world we will not meddle in your internal affairs. We will either be your best friend or your worst enemy, and you can decide which. Trade with us and we will aid you every way possible. Ignore us and we will ignore you. Damage us and we will destroy you.
Dale Conner, Weeki Wachee
Young: Get out of the war | Sept. 18
Late speaking up
After 11 years, Bill Young has finally decided, "We're killing kids that don't need to die." Tell that to all parents who have lost their children and wives who have lost their husbands fighting a "war without end" and "fighting a war without a cause." What took him so long?
Margaret Hyde, Clearwater
Romney: Nearly half 'believe they are victims' | Sept. 18
Now that's rich
The arrogance of this man is simply amazing. I cannot believe that retired folks like myself are cast in such despicable terms because we receive Social Security and Medicare (both paid into for many years) and no longer pay income tax since our income is so low.
As far as I am concerned, Mitt Romney has shown his true colors: He speaks for, cares for and, if elected, will govern for the wealthy and only the wealthy.
Jim Becker, Lutz
Hardly a parasite
I am proud of being a responsible American citizen. I have worked hard for over half a century. I am now retired and rely heavily on my investments in Social Security and Medicare for my livelihood. Although I have lived comfortably, I have never made over $200,000 a year and, apparently, have never been part of the nation's middle class. I am not the parasite on society Mitt Romney says I am. And, contrary to the beliefs of the Republican Party, I have never committed voter fraud and I have legally voted in every election since becoming of age.
Tom Schroeder, Clearwater
U.S. travel outfits decry tighter Cuba rules Sept. 16
Rubio's ridiculous stance
The tactics used by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in trying to undo the advances made in the people-to-people program with Cuba are appalling, un-American and ridiculous. At a time when we could be on the brink of an enlightened relationship with Cuba and an end to the embargo, he recites the Cold War bugaboo, labeling the program a "charade" that allows Fidel Castro to indoctrinate us. I rather feel that Rubio is the indoctrinator.
Cuba is moving ahead with some limited free-market changes and has a health care system that is well-respected worldwide. Too bad we can't say the same. There are in fact American medical students studying in Cuba.
Rubio should not deny Americans the freedom to travel to Cuba because of his partisan bias.
Claire McCarthy Lutzmann, Dunedin
Elton John concert traffic
A real sour note
While the Elton John concert at the USF Sun Dome was fabulous, the lack of any traffic control almost ruined the evening. There were no Tampa or campus police in evidence, and no thought that 10,000 people would be trying to get to the concert. We missed 45 minutes of the show, and hundreds of cars were behind us. To be stuck in traffic for an hour to travel less than 4 miles using the route emailed to us from USF highlighted that the Tampa area cannot handle any type of traffic that other cities in the country or the rest of the world can.
Why can't the powers that be understand how desperately good public transport is needed in this area?
G. Peters, Seminole
Kids, go out and play and build your brain Sept. 17 column
Park your helicopter
It is reassuring to find someone still around with a modicum of common sense. Lenore Skenazy hits the nail on the head about overprotecting kids and how the media, in an effort to manufacture news, scares the daylights out of everyone by making it sound like there is a bogeyman around every corner. Hopefully, some will get it and allow their kids to learn some life skills without a helicopter parent on the scene over them at every moment!
G.G. Williams, St. Petersburg