Trump gets bold, vague | Aug. 22
Learn from Afghanistan history
President Donald Trump is sending more troops to Afghanistan to "obliterate" the enemy. After 16 years, this country has learned nothing from our own history or Afghanistan's long history. For the last three centuries the greatest modern armies in the world at the time were defeated by the Afghan people — the British, the Russians and the Americans.
Outside the few large cities there are stretches of undeveloped desert ruled by warlords in a feudal system with an economy based on bartering.
You will not democratize the Afghan people. You can train them to fight for you, but they fight for themselves only. They will not be your friends. Osama bin Laden was a U.S.-backed fighter against the Russians and we know how that turned out.
Trump and the Joint Chiefs would do well to remember a quote from Rudyard Kipling's poem The Young British Soldier:
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Joseph Ranalli, St. Pete Beach
What Jewish kids learn from witnessing hatred | Aug. 17, commentary
Teaching must start early
When Nathan Englander was a toddler, I was in high school in one of the most conservative areas in rural Pennsylvania that was 98 percent white and with very few Jews. Contrary to his experience, my high school class president was Jewish and while some racial prejudice existed, it was not pronounced. Apparently, such small confines can help blunt the type of overt segregation present in some larger communities.
His childhood clearly suggests that the bigotry he was subjected to originated within the family settings of those children who made the anti-Semitic remarks. I see an analogy that can be drawn between how we can approach the current vociferous rise of white supremacists and physical education in the early 1960s. Under President John Kennedy's leadership, schools across America adopted physical fitness programs.
Similarly, we can incorporate at a very early age the discovery of the human genome project into a rigorous socialization program in our schools. The finding that the portion of DNA denoting racial characteristics is minuscule is the type of hard science that can refute the misinformation being propagated by extremist groups. Combined with strong cultural education to foster human understanding from prekindergarten forward, our schools can be the environment to supplement parental influence in the home or to subsidize what may be missing in others.
Chris Kenney, Tampa
Condemn, but protect, the speech of hate Aug. 23, commentary
Violence is wrong — period
Pundits, politicians and progressives want us to believe that "bad" violence and "good" violence are different. They claim that violence committed by alt-right activists is evil (which it is) and that violence committed by alt-left activists is benign (which it is not). Every American has the right to express his or her views, but no one has the right to incite or commit violence. Bad and good violence are equivalent — both are illegal and immoral.
Ralph Warmack, Gulfport
Statue goal: Done deal | Aug. 18
A great day for community
Hooray, Tampa Bay, for coming up with the money to remove the Confederate monument from downtown Tampa. It is obvious that the Hillsborough County commissioners thought it would be impossible to raise that amount of money in 30 days, but it was done in 24 hours. It is time that these monuments of bigotry are removed from all public places. I am proud of all the people who were willing to step up and get the job done.
Nora S. Wilhide, Sun City Center
This article says "the community quickly rallied in raising the necessary money by the afternoon."
According to my math, $122,000, or 89 percent of the money, came from the business community (Chamber of Commerce), athletic teams (Storm, Bucs, Rays and Lightning), and local politicians (Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn). One has to suspect that their combined motivations were either for financial gain, political popularity or promoting their image with the community.
Only Tony Dungy's $5,000 and smaller contributions made up the $18,000 difference with no apparent self-interests involved.
The individuals in the community calling for the monument transfers have traditionally been at odds with the business community and political leaders over the issues of diversity in the workplace, minimum wage, equal treatment under the law and political issues of jobs, health care and housing, to name a few.
My, what a chunk of money can do to change the protesters' tone. The heavy contributors have always bought out legislators for their own self-interests, now they are buying morality under the guise of taking such noble action on the volatile issues of racism and anti-Semitism.
Brian P. Moore, Spring Hill
Let's tell the whole truth
There has been a backlash against removing Confederate monuments from our public space. Many have asked: Why? After all, we've been living with them for decades. My problem is they serve as a focal point around which the alt-right can galvanize when our unresolved racial problems bubble to the surface. Those monuments stand as a state-approved symbol that "the cause" was just.
How about by every Confederate monument or statue you put a sculpture, monument or picture of a lynching? If we are going to deify the actors, let's remind the public of what they were fighting for. Show the men, women and children who were sacrificed on the altar of white supremacy.
Jesse Glover, Tampa