Panetta: Military in dark in Libya | Oct. 26
Libya questions need answers
The American people are owed more from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta than glib and, as it now turns out, misleading statements about lacking real-time information necessary to deploy forces. The American people are also owed an explanation of decisions that were made by CIA chief David Petraeus.
But the buck stops with the president. It is inconceivable that decisions to send or not to send military forces to rescue CIA personnel would not have been presented to the president. (If they were not, that would be a scandal of the first order.) So the question is not so much what Panetta or Petraeus thought, or what they recommended. The question is what the president did that evening of Sept. 11. Whom did President Barack Obama speak with? What meetings did he convene? What decisions did he make? Why?
John M. Whelan, Dunedin
A flood of attack ads | Oct. 27
Mouthpiece for Democrats
Noteworthy, but not surprising, was the "cover the front page" article about the evil conservative super PAC American Crossroads and how it is going to destroy political discourse in the country. Yet there's only a one-line mention in the second-to-last paragraph about its liberal counterpart, Priorities USA.
It's sad to see what the national and local press has become. There was a time when you provided a valuable service: holding public officials accountable for their words and actions. Now you've just degenerated into transparent mouthpieces for the Democratic Party.
David Klase, New Port Richey
Buying an election
A Times reporter shocks the world by expounding the obvious: Karl Rove, using billionaire mystery money from afar let loose by a hideous Supreme Court decision, might successfully buy a presidential election.
And Rove's billionaires might also buy a Senate and a few House elections to boot.
The real question will be: If he wins by unleashing such ugliness with so much unaccountable cash, will there be much of a democratic republic left to care about? I'll bet far less than we hope for.
Dale Friedley, St. Petersburg
Running the numbers
Mitt Romney has pulled the number of "12 million new jobs" out of thin air. There are no specifics as to how he would accomplish that. Like everything else Romney says, he says it because it sounds good, in the moment. Tomorrow he will say something different.
Massachusetts was 47th in job creation while he was governor. He is losing by 20 points in Massachusetts. The people of his state know his record and hated it. That's why he chose not to run for a second term.
Norma Bean, Tampa
Ex-secretary of state endorses Obama Oct. 26
Your campaign note did not go into detail on what Colin Powell said on why he is supporting President Barack Obama. Powell's reasoning should be considered by any voter in this pivotal presidential election.
Powell took serious issue with Mitt Romney's foreign policy stances, saying, "One day he has a certain strong view about staying in Afghanistan, but then on Monday night he agrees with the withdrawal. Same thing in Iraq. On almost every issue that was discussed on Monday night, Romney agreed with the president with some nuances. But this is quite a different set of foreign policy views than he had earlier in the campaign."
Powell also said the president got the United States out of Iraq and has laid out a plan for leaving Afghanistan "and didn't get us into any new wars."
And he praised Obama's economic performance, saying that while difficult choices are ahead on taxes, spending and budgetary policies, "Steadily, I think we've begun to come out of the dive and we're gaining altitude."
Aaron Barman, Odessa
Voters deserve more than fear and mud Oct. 27, editorial
A nation's principles
Thank you for your editorial about the absurd and ignorant ad on television by Frank Farkas stating that opponent Dwight Dudley's representation of criminal defendants makes him unqualified to hold office and, somehow, guilty of his clients' crimes.
Any defendant is entitled to the best possible defense provided by his attorney. The attorney who provides that defense is upholding the principles of our country.
Jim Stillman, Lutz
An estimated 20 million people in the United States are infected with the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Of these, more than 11,000 will develop cervical cancer. This is alarming, especially for Florida, which has one of the highest HPV-associated cervical cancer rates in the United States.
The link between HPV and cancer has been clearly illustrated and supported by the medical and scientific community. Unfortunately, an understanding of this link is limited among the public. This is especially true in the South, which has one the highest rates of HPV infection.
The HPV vaccine has been proven to be safe, effective and life-saving, but this is not common knowledge in our state. As a registered nurse, I am concerned that our state government has not implemented legislation on the HPV vaccine.
How can our state afford to not educate the public when awareness is already low? We are doing a great disservice to the health of our children by not pushing for HPV legislation, whether it be in the form of vaccination or education.
Vincent Labarca, Tallahassee
Bruised but still standing | Oct. 29
Are we a theocracy?
Congratulations on the vivid descriptions of the horrors in certain private schools. Such an expose, shocking as it is, was certainly needed.
To me, one of the most amazing statements made is, "In 1984, Florida legislators passed a law that would allow religious homes to use corporal punishment if they could justify it with Scripture." Are we, then, living in a theocracy? If so, whose "God" is in charge? Whose "Scripture" is supreme?
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon