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U.S. government

Politicians no longer serve the people

Since George W. Bush and his henchmen are hawking democracy with so much eloquence, maybe we should look at our own performance.

Ninety percent of eligible voters are not affiliated with or support any political party. In off-year elections, candidates are elected to major political positions with 35 percent of registered voters voting. Less than 50 percent have been known to vote in general elections.

We have the best representation money can buy, from the president down through Congress and the state legislatures. We don't have a representative government, either Democratic or Republican. We have a "bought and paid for" oligarchy controlled by the military/industrial complex.

Lincoln warned us of the power of industry taking over government. Ninety years later Eisenhower warned us of the danger of the military influence in government. Now we are trapped in a situation (the rest of the world knows what the American public can't see). It will take a major catastrophe to unseat them, and it could turn into disaster.

Why is it we never hear, there is no money for the military, including the nuclear weapon program, or the next military project, exploration of space? Social responsibility and public infrastructure are continuously ignored.

We are the only major country in the world without universal health care. George Bush vetoed the Pentagon budget - it had too much money for veteran's benefits.

Leon E. Neier,

P.O. Box 384, Columbia Falls

Amtrak

Rail service deserves our support

I'm writing in regard to the Missoulian's editorial on Amtrak. This idea that Amtrak must be self-supporting is distorted. No other form of public transportation is required to pay for itself.

Congress last year alone spent $33 billion for highways and $12 billion for aviation and approved another $15 billion for the airline industry.

Rail travel built this country, and it's about time that our elected officials wake up and fund our passenger rail service. Montana should be proud to have the Empire Builder running through out state and Montanans should support it.

While Europe and Japan have long enjoyed this fast and dependable rail system, we can do the same now.

Michael Ackley,

2009 S. Ninth St. W., Missoula

War with Iraq

Missoulian editorial showcases hypocrisy

Let me get this straight. Your point in the Missoulian editorial of May 2 is to suggest that the commitment to peace of those people who rallied together worldwide against the United States preemptive strike on Iraq is suspect. And your basis for this assumption is that their dereliction is confirmed by their lack of enthusiasm for the Super Powers' latest "road map to peace" plan for the Middle East.

I and millions like me adamantly opposed this immoral invasion put action behind our words by marching in the streets, writing countless letters and e-mails, repeatedly petitioning the president and Congress, spending hundreds of hours reading news reports and educating ourselves and our community, all in an effort to abort the killing.

You offer absurd logic arguing that what we were asking for in Iraq is what we are now getting in Israel and Palestine. Yea, and apples are identical to oranges because they are both fruits. And to crown it all off, you, the Missoulian editorial staff that sat on the fence the whole time while we were giving everything we had to stop the war, have the audacity to point your fingers at us and quip, "People who say they want to 'give peace a chance' ought to be giving it some help." Have I got that about right?

Your editorial reminds me of a time in high school when from the sidelines I flippantly criticized our football team's punter who shanked one. My good friend, Jim Hoyt, turned to me and said, "If you think you can do better, why aren't you out there trying?"

Well?

Dale Blackford,

2409 Duncan Drive, Missoula

Distorted headline taints coverage

I would like to respond to the headline article in the Missoulian dated April 30, "U.S. troops fire on Iraqi crowd." As one reads this headline it gives an impression that American troops just opened fire on a crowd of Iraqi civilians. To further enhance this word picture a photograph of an Iraqi 9-year-old boy with a bandage on his shoulder and a caption that again implies unprovoked and unreasonable responses by U.S. troops is also depicted.

After reading the entire article from the Washington Post writer, I feel the headline and caption were very unbalanced in their references. Many people don't read entire articles and rightly or wrongly form general opinions from headlines and captions.

Our troops who have fought and died to free the Iraqi people from tyranny are not even given the benefit of the doubt, while a few "involved" local Iraqis are considered credible, hardly an unbiased source. My question to your staff is why do we allow reporting that disparages our own citizens and troops and gives unreasonable credibility to a few unknown Iraqis? By your own admission, the crowd was firing AK47's in the air and eventually at the U.S. soldiers. Why are the lives and well being of our young men and women in the services less important than the lives of Iraqis? War is terrible and terrifying for all concerned. However, when it comes to preserving lives and making tough choices under fire my support is with our troops.

I pray the occupation doesn't last any longer than necessary. However, until it's over, how about a more credible and balanced report as a courtesy to those who are risking their lives, so this paper's reporters can continue to print their views without someone shooting at them with an AK47 and then pretending to be an innocent victim of police brutality.

John Serle,

25 Hideaway Ridge Road, Plains

Milltown Dam

Where did Ambrose's money go?

The late historian and author Stephen Ambrose contributed $250,000 to the Clark Fork Coalition and Trout Unlimited in support of their campaign to clean up Milltown Reservoir, remove Milltown Dam and restore the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers. Ambrose said he wants the bulk of his money to be used for restoration and historic interpretation that goes beyond the ongoing Superfund cleanup of the reservoir. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's plan, restoration is slated to begin in 2011.

What will become of the "bulk" of Ambrose's money for the next eight years? If invested, will those earnings be set aside for Milltown's benefit? What exactly is left of Ambrose's quarter of a million dollars that folks of the Bonner and Milltown community can expect to see expended on restoration and historic interpretation once the remedy is completed? Who will be around to make sure Ambrose's money is spent in Milltown as was documented?

Beverly Hand,

P.O. Box 35, Milltown

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