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  1. Opinion

Building, not bombing, is the way to win hearts and minds

Here’s what readers are saying in Wednesday’s letters to the editor
With his machine gun, a paratrooper of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Brigade advances near Hue at the height of the Vietnam War.
With his machine gun, a paratrooper of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Brigade advances near Hue at the height of the Vietnam War.

We don’t bomb our way to peace

With everlasting war comes the degradation of our culture | Column, Jan. 14

I am a Vietnam veteran. I was an infantry platoon leader, a ground-pounding grunt. Later in my career, I was an Army engineer constructing schools and health clinics with roads, bridges and water wells to support them in the jungles of Central America. These two life experiences, over a 30-year military career, taught me the difference between revolutionary war and evolutionary war. We can win the peace not by napalm-dropping revolution, but with evolutionary service to those in need. It is orders of magnitude less expensive and more rewarding, too.

Ed Sweeney, Spring Hill

A message to the future

Teachers voice their frustration | Jan. 14

Teachers from Pinellas County joined the public school education rally, "Take On Tallahassee," which was organized by the Florida Education Association in a call for improved support from Florida lawmakers of public education. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

This headline demonstrates how frustration can be a powerful force for positive change, and the photo of 8-year-old Annika raising a sign that reads, “Invest in me! I matter,” is a message about the importance of our future. Investing in teacher pay will ultimately blossom into leaders who are well prepared.

Gerald Gudorf, Clearwater

Taking out a bad guy

Trump: Iran targeted U.S. embassies |Jan. 12

I have a great deal of trouble understanding the Democrats’ reasoning for hounding the president on the “justification” to order the military to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani “at this time.” Frankly, who cares? I do not recall any type of this constant questioning when Barack Obama ordered Osama bin Laden to be taken out. The clear-cut answer why Soleimani was targeted is, he had just killed an American contractor, raided our embassy compound and was responsible for hundreds of American military being killed. It matters not one iota whether we needed any justification to remove a terrorist, and the world is better off without him.

Charles Salzmann, New Port Richey

It could happen to anyone

Richard Gonzmart saw the crash | Jan. 12

Unidentified pedestrians roll past a candle memorial, temporary chain-linked fence, construction cones and orange markings are visible where a jogger was fatally struck Thursday by a pickup truck that jumped onto Bayshore Boulevard's scenic sidewalk and crashed into the balustrade. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Tampa Bay’s heart was ripped out once again with another tragic loss on Bayshore Boulevard. Richard Gonzmart’s comment after witnessing the pedestrian death was spot on: “In one second all you know and love could be gone. I will no longer complain about my aches and pains, about traffic jams, or lack of sleep. And I will be sure to tell those close to me that I love them every day and say it often.” My heart and prayers go out to the victim’s family.

Dale Kimball, Wesley Chapel

Housing isn’t affordable

Diverting housing money must stop | Editorial, Jan. 13

Men hold up signs at a rally outside of City Hall in Oakland, Calif. [JEFF CHIU | AP]

This editorial is an urgent alert about the housing crisis in Florida. We have homeless people and those who are working two and three jobs to try to make ends meet who cannot find affordable housing.

Stephanie Bonnivier, San Antonio

A pre-existing condition

American health care

President Donald Trump states that he will always fight for insuring pre-existing conditions. Really? The Washington Post fact-checker has tallied over 15,000 false or misleading claims Trump has made since occupying the White House.

Charles Gonzalez, St. Petersburg

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