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THE TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.com
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2012 PAGE 9A
End to Afghanistan war won’t be total victory
HE LENGTH OF the campaign in Afghanistan is a vivid measure of its cost. When British soldiers finally withdraw at the end of 2014, the fighting will have lasted for 13 years, making it the longest foreign conflict this country has waged since the days of Napoleon. After so much toil and sacrifice, the government owes it to the nation to acknowledge some harsh realities. No one doubts the achievement of our forces, along with their American and coalition allies. Until 2001, Afghanistan served as the global headquarters of al-Qaida and the location for training camps turning out thousands of terrorists. All that has come to an end. Our soldiers can take pride in their part in removing a threat to the security of the West. Along the way, they have underwritten the birth of an elect-
ed government in Kabul and allowed at least 3 million girls to return to the schools from which the Taliban excluded them. It should never be forgotten that fighters loyal to this vicious movement still burn down classrooms, and cast acid in the faces of girls who want nothing more than an education. That makes it harder still to acknowledge that there will be no outright military victory over the Taliban. The Prime Minister should start preparing the public for the unpalatable agreement that will have to be struck by 2014. The men we fought for 13 years are likely to have real political power. The best we can hope for is that Afghanistan will be governable, and that the country will no longer be a threat to the West. The Telegraph, London
Today America celebrates the business of democracy AS WE approach this year’s election, one of the primary issues is the relationship of government and business, and whether a business model is superior to the form of government set out in our
QUOTE OF THE DAY “My father has always lived his life to make this world better for others.” Laila Ali The daughter of retired boxing champ Muhammad Ali accompanied him last week to Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, where he receive the Liberty Medal for his longtime role as a heavyweight for humanitarian causes, civil rights and religious freedom.
Exiting Iran a bad move
HE DECISION TO sever diplomatic relations with Iran marks a retreat from the enlightened influence Canada can have in the world. Everything that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has said about Iran is true. The country has, under its ruling mullahcracy, descended into something resembling a rogue state. But the government’s decision is still baffling. Baird did not reveal a specific incident, or threat, to explain the timing of the move, though he hinted that embassy officers could be in danger. If there were a specific threat, then a temporary closure of the embassy might be justified. But Canadian diplomats serve in dangerous
posts in many places, and Canada has gone much further than a temporary closing. It has expelled Iranian diplomats and ended diplomatic ties. Instead of sharing any threats, Baird provided a summary of Iran’s various international and domestic crimes and misdemeanors. Baird even mentioned the 1979 hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, which one might have thought was a very good argument against closing the embassy. Imagine if Ken Taylor and Canadian diplomats had been withdrawn during that tumultuous period, and were not there to help shield some American diplomats from the fanatics. The Globe and Mail, Toronto
Put refugees in context
ALESTINIANS ARE the first people to come to mind when the word “refugee” is uttered in a Middle East context. And Palestinians have paid dearly to reinforce this misconception. Largely dispossessed by their fellow Arabs, Palestinians have lived as second-class citizens in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere in the region. Palestinians’ dismal treatment by their Arab brethren is undoubtedly due in part to strongly held prejudices and exclusionary nationalist loyalties. But the perpetuation of the Palestinian “refugee” problem has also served as a means of un-
dermining the legitimacy of Israel, as if it were the Jewish state – not extremist, uncompromising and sorrowfully incompetent Palestinian leadership – that was responsible for the flight of Palestinians from Palestine after the failed attempt to violently snuff out the State of Israel at conception. Only when the Palestinian people acknowledge their own and the Arab nations’ complicity in their own displacement, as well as the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, will true, lasting peace be attainable. The Jerusalem Post
PRASHANT SHITUT President and CEO/Impressions Media MARK E. JONES JOSEPH BUTKIEWICZ Vice President/Executive Editor Editorial Page Editor
Constitution. Clearly, the Founding Fathers would have been skeptical, if not surprised, at the meshing of the concepts of the public and private sectors. Although many of our founders, such as Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock, ran businesses, and many such as Washington and Jefferson engaged in plantation-based commerce, there is little doubt that they perceived government as separate from business. Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence reflected a philosophy of natural law in which rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness flowed from the “Creator.” None of those rights is inherent to businesses, which derive their rights from manmade statutes and corporate charters granted by the states. When James Madison and the other members of the Constitutional Convention presented their document based on political compromise, it contained a preamble setting out the purposes of our national government. Unlike those principles for governance, no business in America is tasked with providing national defense or ensuring domestic tranquility, and none sees itself as establishing justice, promoting the general welfare or securing the blessings of liberty to both current and future generations. Simply put, while the business of business is profit, the business of government is the people it serves and the rights they enjoy. These rights are not commodities that can be bought, sold or bartered. They are beyond monetary value and have been both obtained
DAVID I. FALLK and preserved by heroes and ordinary citizens willing to serve their country. In process, government and business also markedly differ. No economic form is proscribed or mandated in the Constitution. Businesses are guided by the owners or directors, mostly in secret without input or dissent from those who are affected by their decisions, while our democracy is subject to often conflicting needs and demands, with decisions made by open majority vote. There are no separations of powers and certainly no judicial review. Over the years, not all businesses have been viewed with favor by either the populace or politicians. The most reviled enterprise in Colonial times was the British East India Tea Co. In the 19th century, President Andrew Jackson waged war on the Second Bank of the United States, and profiteers were loathed for their perfidious greed during the Civil War. By the beginning of the 20th century, Theodore Roosevelt saw the need for busting up large business trusts to ensure America’s advancement. To this day, public policy and private interests are often at odds. It might be profitable for the private sector to do business with Iran or to sell weapons or other products to totalitarian regimes, but our government may consider an economic boycott or arms embargo of paramount national importance. This is not to suggest that government should not employ sound business practices in certain aspects of its function. Much was made of the failure of the Bush administration to obtain discounts from manufacturers for drugs
purchased under the expansion of Medicare. On the other hand, governmental administrative costs for Medicare and Social Security are far below those of most private businesses that deliver health care or retirement benefits. Last but not least, in the upcoming presidential election, we will be asked to decide whether a business background is a better qualifier for presidential leadership. No such requirement appears in the Constitution. However, history teaches us that success in business does not always correlate with success in governing. Both Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush, the nation’s first president with a master’s degree in business administration, had considerable track records of privatesector success, and Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, also boasted CEO credentials. Yet both Hoover and Bush presided over huge financial collapses of a systemic nature. Conversely, Harry Truman was a failed small businessman, who now is generally regarded as a president who ably dealt with some of the most monumental questions ever to face our nation’s chief executive. As we celebrate the 225th anniversary of our Constitution today, and as we all go about our private and family matters, let us not forget that our Pledge of Allegiance is still to our republic and its ideals of “liberty and justice for all.” David I. Fallk is a Scranton trial attorney and president of The Committee for Justice for All, Kingston.
LETTERS FROM READERS
‘2016: Obama’s America’ a must-see for all voters
In the upcoming presidential election, we will be asked to decide whether a business background is a better qualifier for presidential leadership. No such requirement appears in the Constitution.
n Sept. 9, my wife and I went to see “2016: Obama’s America” – a documentary film about President Obama. Sad to say, there were only 11 people for the 4:45 p.m. showing. If you already know you will not vote for Obama, you might question the point of seeing the film. If you support Obama, you might feel the movie is just more tea party propaganda. No matter how you might feel toward Obama, everyone really needs to see “2016” and get a better understanding of this man’s background, past relationships and his ideology. One of my strongest reactions was the fact that we hear little or nothing in the local and national media about the information disclosed in this film. My parents were lifelong Democrats who experienced the Great Depression firsthand. My
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mother adored Bill Clinton. If they were alive today, I don’t think they would recognize the political party they were loyal to all their lives. My father, son of Czech immigrants, loved America. I doubt that he would have supported Obama’s vision for this country. Obama promised he would change America. See the film “2016,” learn who influenced his thinking and decide if you agree with the president’s ideas for changing America.
It has often been quoted that “people get the government they deserve.” Timothy Philmeck Tunkhannock
Veterinary clinic showed compassion for kitten
riving on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston recently, I came across a kitten that had just been struck by a car; he was still alive. I took him to the Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital. Unfortunately due to the trauma he suffered, he had to be euthanized. I express my thanks and gratitude to the staff and the veterinarian who tried to save him; their kindness to the kitten and me was so heartfelt. Their compassion was exemplary. Michelle Miller Hanover Township