Use diplomacy to defuse Russia-Georgia conflict Why does the media only give us the "official" story of Russia and Georgia that comes out of Washington (or Moscow)? We need a clear picture of what is going on over there.
Once again, Bush "rattles his saber." Why send the already overextended U.S. military into Georgia to ostensibly deliver "humanitarian aid"? Aren't there numerous international aid agencies that could do the job and not present what Russia probably sees as a U.S. military threat? Reports tell us this could lead to conflict between our two nations.
If Russia, as noted, is exerting its military domination in the area by this show of force, well, so be it! Why do we feel we have to be dominant everywhere, even next door to a major world power? Didn't Georgia's president send troops into the rebellious South Ossetia province first, when there were already Russian "peacekeepers" there to "protect the interests" of the Russians in that area?
Why must the United States assume the whole world wants to be "democratic" in the way we interpret that word?
Yes, the Russians need to withdraw from Georgia, but let's give them time, and use all available diplomatic — but not military — means to get them to honor what seems to be the agreement of the cease-fire. And could we please see the full text of that agreement?
Let's see some probing questions and clear thinking in the media in this matter, before we find ourselves in a similar mess as in Iraq — but assuredly even worse with Russia. Why always use the military to supposedly solve the world's problems?
John Kelley, Clearwater Russian invasion of Georgia
Moscow is taking
a cue from Kosovo
The news I have seen concerning the Russian invasion of Georgia and what the United States should do about it all seem to miss the point concerning why Moscow could think its actions were acceptable. We wrongly compare the action with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia or Hungary in the bad old days.
Russia is simply acting exactly as the West has done over Kosovo and other new countries that have been extracted out of old Yugoslavia. We invaded Kosovo and attacked Yugoslavian (Serbian) armed forces throughout Kosovo and Serbia in order to "free" a dissident province whose people did not wish to be part of the greater nation. Russia is, in its own mind, doing exactly the same thing in favor of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Why should we be surprised? Russia warned us that they did not agree with our (NATO) actions with regard to Kosovo. So now we disagree with their actions with regard to South Ossetia.
I will believe our State Department is competent when we start to discuss the Russian actions in the same vein that we have discussed Kosovo!
Ian MacFarlane, St. Petersburg
Guard pulled out of heat | Aug. 14, story
Coddling the troops
I was in the Air Force from 1962 to 1966. Having done my basic training in San Antonio, I know about Texas heat. We all lived in barracks that were not air conditioned and we sucked it up and carried on. I also have been on temporary duty assignments to places like Turkey in midsummer (rarely under 100 degrees) with no air conditioning in the same type of steel warehouse buildings as this Guard unit. Again, we sucked it up and did our duty.
Since when has it been a part of the military that troops should live in "comfort"? The Army did the proper thing in helping the unit get accustomed to the heat by giving them reality. But it was not good enough for this unit. They needed air-conditioned comfort to perform their duties.
I'm disgusted that their commander spent $250,000 of my tax money so this unit can live in comfort. I'm equally disgusted that Rep. C.W Bill Young, who represents my district, helped make it happen.
If this unit can't perform their mission without air conditioning, how will they perform under fire?
Paul Lukacs, Indian Rocks Beach
Guard pulled out of heat | Aug. 14, story
I see a new possibility for a write-in candidate: Florida National Guard Gen. Doug Burnett! Finally, here is someone with a heart who really cares about those he is responsible for. As sad as the story and conditions were, the fact that he did whatever he could to correct it immediately put a different spin on this article. And it gave me warm fuzzies knowing our guys and gals are under the command of a caring individual.
You know, this is the type of article I'd rather see on our front page. Thank you, Gen. Burnett, from the bottom of my heart.
Lynn Friedman, Pinellas Park
Old world of Spain can teach us how to live | Aug. 10, Robyn Blumner column
The rest of the story
Robyn Blumner's column is a typical liberal tale of telling half the story. Yes, health care in Europe may be free or less costly than in the United States. Last month I had to go to a hospital emergency room Berlin and the bill was 22 euros or $35. And, of course, everything is very expensive there.
What was not stated in the article was that gasoline was $9 a gallon, every piece of merchandise you buy had a value added tax of 19 percent and that payroll taxes are atrociously high. (Figures are from Germany).
Since Blumner rarely has anything positive to say about the United States, may I suggest a one-way ticket to somewhere!
Gary Silvers, Largo
The girl in the window | Aug. 3
Many need our help
Thank you for your story on Dani and for raising awareness regarding child abuse and neglect. The response from the community was heartwarming, and I do hope readers will reach out and do what they can to help.
There are truly so many children in need in our community. There are many who, unlike Dani, were taught to talk and eat, but they were also taught that neglect, hitting and horrendous abuse are just a daily occurrences in life. Many children grow up thinking the abuse they are suffering is normal. They do not know the love of family, and do not experience a happy, healthy childhood, something so many people take for granted.
But there is hope for these children; they can be helped and go on to lead healthy, happy, productive lives. One agency that has not yet been mentioned but provides hope and tremendous services is the Children's Home in Tampa. This wonderful organization provides a safe haven for children who have suffered abuse, neglect or abandonment, and they also provide care for struggling families and children seeking the comfort of a loving family.
To find out how you can help a child in need, please call (813) 855-4435 or visit www.childrenshome.org.
Donna Cacciatore, Tampa