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Letters to the editor: The threats we face

May. 2, 2013 - 01:53PM   |  
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THE NEXT WMD THREAT

In late 2002, into 2003, then-President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice were unanimous in their position that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It was touted that this posed an immediate threat to the region, our interests in the region and the security of the U.S. itself. Flash forward, post-invasion, post-stability, post-drawdown of forces in Iraq to today and we have another rogue state, North Korea, claiming to have the ability to create nuclear weapons (and it has tested them).

It has threatened the U.S., South Korea and Japan with nuclear attack. Perhaps a serious dialogue with China and Russia, assuring them of intent to remove the threat, to stabilize and reunify the Koreas, and assist with the refugee problem that will result from the conflict (both benefit greatly from North Korean labor). Then, form a coalition of Southeast Asian countries threatened by this lunatic and marshal our soldiers. I look forward to a day when Korea is a unified economic powerhouse in the global economy, free from the tyranny of the benevolent leader.

1st Lt. Jamey M. Murphy

Knoxville, Tenn.

THE NEXT BOSTON

The next 9/11, the next Boston, will likely be CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high-yield explosives). It could be weapons-grade chemicals taken from failed states such as Iraq or Syria. It could be biological weapons taken from the former Soviet Union’s program that employed 50,000 people and produced, among other things, tons of weaponized smallpox as late as the 1990s. It could be a few tactical nuclear weapons exploded in major American cities, lost or stolen from the Soviets. It could be radiological material spread by high-yield explosives at major ports of entry, thus disrupting trade to an economy-destroying extent.

The time to prepare for this is now. The Defense Department, the U.S. military, is charged with protecting the citizens of America. It is its job to prepare for this inevitability. Civil support teams and local first responders will not be able to handle the aftermath of the use of weapons of mass destruction within our borders. The time to revisit posse comitatus is now, not during a crisis situation. The time to train soldiers to operate within our borders to detect, mitigate and remediate the damage caused by CBRNE is now, not as this crisis unfolds.

The war is already here, within our borders. The enemy is improving its tactics now, within our borders. The time to plan for defending against a WMD attack by this enemy, which is already operating within our borders, is now.

Let us not wait until it is too late to start fighting the war we are actually in. Let us stop pretending that America is safer because of the two wars we created. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars only enhanced the clash of civilizations, further radicalized extremist Muslims and helped create a new generation of warriors.

I pray that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel understands this and starts to do what is necessary to use our military as the founders intended, to protect and defend our homeland and the citizens of the great nation. The time is now.

Former Cpl. Robert Eckert

Fort Wainwright, Alaska

WHAT DOGS DESERVE

Dogs don’t enlist, they get drafted. They don’t serve a country or a state or a flag. Dogs don’t get paid, they don’t get leave, and they don’t get combat, flight, hazard or separation pay. In short, dogs get treated worse than, well, dogs. I wouldn’t force my worst enemy to serve anywhere under those conditions, and yet, dogs do.

Not only do dogs act as a first line of defense as perimeter guards, bomb sniffers and other military uses, they also act as healers and companions to our wounded warriors who can never imagine life without their invaluable canine companions. While serving as a combat medic (on my second tour) in Iraq, I witnessed firsthand the incredible value of military dogs, both as fighters and as healers, and I will personally vouch for their courage, stamina and resilience in the face of all challenges. No other creature has proved itself as loyal and as steadfast a companion as the common mutt. And, for the record, I would award benefits to the least of them before the bulk of humanity.

Former Sgt. Scott A. Soulia

Sewell, N.J.

PAY BY MERIT

I read “Attack on pay and retirement” [April 22] and feel not only depressed but let down with the way our commander in chief and select members of Congress see what is best for our armed forces. The president wants to cap the annual cost-of-living adjustment increases in federal benefits and retired pay as a way to cut the deficit. Members of the armed forces put their lives on the line, day in and day out. Sure, some of the positions are support roles, but if push comes to shove, basic training teaches troops how to protect the U.S.

If Congress is set on reducing the deficit, then why did they vote themselves another pay raise this year, and why do they have an automatic pay raise set in law that takes place annually? It appears to me that we have a “do-nothing” Congress, so why don’t they tie their pay raises to merit and job performance?

CW4 Donald E. Macaulay (ret.)

San Antonio

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