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Iraq

Administration is in bed with corporations

In the early 1950s, President Eisenhower warned us all to beware of the military-industrial complex and that this consortium could easily take over our government. How prophetic!

This Iraqi war is a case in point. We have gone to war without Congress' approval at the direction of our elected executive branch officials who are all closely related to our industries, with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney ex-chief executive officers of corporations.

Now that the war has been officially declared over, Halliburton Corp. has been given an open-ended contract to rebuild and manage Iraq's oil fields. This contract was let without competitive bidding.

Cheney was a top CEO of Halliburton before he was elected vice president, which certainly raises eyebrows. America's taxpayers should be up in arms at the procedures that got us into this war, and the cost of the post-war repair jobs contracted without bidding. We do not have our usual checks and balances to control spending and war-making. Eisenhower is probably turning over in his grave at the this turn of events - and I am doing a slow burn at how our tax dollars are being spent. With soaring deficits, we need strict control of expenditures, with no open-minded, noncompetitive, cost-plus contracts to corporations who are in bed with our executive branch officials.

DeLynn Colvert,

P.O. Box 5604, Missoula

Critics, cynics have no patience

To all those who criticize rather than encourage, who doom rather than hope, and who undermine at this critical moment when our nation has begun a noble (and it seems thankless) task of liberating the people of Iraq, I say the following:

Why do you gleefully and continuously harp on the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found so far in Iraq? Finding Saddam's arsenal of chemical and biological and perhaps even nuclear weapons will take time. I say let the team searching for those weapons do their job. Give them a chance to finish the job before rushing to judgment. It's the least we can do.

O. Fred Westereng,

2249 Greenough Court, Missoula

Bush is the one who needs replacing

A "mobile" weapons laboratory with tireless wheels? (Missoulian May 14).

Please, give us a break!

Or better still, give us regime change right here at home.

M. Chessin,

400 University, Missoula

Lolo Forest

Blame game gets us nowhere

The April 29 article, "Lolo forest work comes to halt," described another chapter in what has now become a very familiar story in our region. Lately, the news has been filled with similar accounts of natural resource disputes. The Bitterroot, Kootenai and now Lolo controversies have a common thread: all parties seem to be getting tired of the conflict but nobody seems to be actively listening to the other. As a result, environmental groups, the Forest Service, mill owners, county commissioners and local residents have generally been pitted against each other in what has been portrayed as a battle. The unconstructive rhetoric that has accompanied these issues tends to further polarize these citizens that are collectively part of a larger community. All parties certainly have a stake in the management of our natural resources. If we can find a way to further this discussion and truly listen to one another, we may be surprised that our interests are not as mutually exclusive as we think. We may even find a way to satisfy all interests through a legitimately democratic process, without having the courts decide for us. As it stands now, it's an either/or scenario. Nothing will get accomplished on the ground - logging or restoration - if we keep playing the blame game. We can do better than this.

Mo Hartmann,

1337 Sherwood St., Missoula

Mark Lambert,

2201 Landusky Court, Missoula

Alex Dunn,

1112 Phillips, Missoula

Molloy biased on environmental rulings

Environmental kangaroo court is now in session. The "lapdog" of the environmental conflict industry now presiding. The actions of federal District Judge and Clinton appointee Donald Molloy in virtually closing down the Lolo National Forest is convincing evidence of the desperate need to remove forest management decisions from the courts and environmentalists and return decision making to professional forest managers.

What business does Molloy have legislating forest policy from the bench? And how did we get into a situation where environmentalists simply have to present a case of fanciful and possible negatives without evidence? Why don't environmentalists have to actually prove their accusations? Judge Molloy must be held accountable for his prejudiced decision making.

The despicable and heinous acts of the Sierra Club, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Ecology Center speak volumes about the mentality of environmentalists. The deliberate sabotage of salvage timber sales and corresponding exploitation of the court system simply cannot proceed without the aid of sympathetic judges. I call on Judge Molloy to resign his position, or stop making a travesty of our court system.

How do we end this chicanery? First, contact Sens. Conrad Burns and Max Baucus, and Rep. Denny Rehberg and let them know that you are opposed to forest management policies being overturned by whimsical judges, and that you favor expanding the exclusionary clauses in the National Environmental Policy Act for salvage sales to proceed without court interference. Make it clear that you want federal judges held accountable for their decisions, by removing Montana from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Finally, stress that the current power-grab by the judiciary, which started with the Clinton administration, must be reined in. Management of our public lands must rest with the professional managers that the public entrusts, not left-wing special interest groups and their sympathetic judges.

Mark I. Pfau,

3275 Terrace Drive, Missoula

Look for true source of poor water quality

The recent ruling halting the U.S. Forest Service's post-burn reforestation plan creates an important opportunity to examine the entire water quality of the lower Clark Fork drainage. The greatest threat clearly comes from the discharge of the Missoula Waste Treatment Plant into the Clark Fork River, not the sediment carrying capacity of the side drainages.

The Missoula Waste Treatment Plant has paid thousands of dollars in fines for its violations of water standards rather than spend millions to upgrade its facilities. Aren't pollutants of greater concern than sediment? If not, now is the time to change our focus.

The side drainages in consideration were all burned during the wildfires of 2000. These streams have already experienced the maximum amount of sedimentation after the Labor Day deluge that put out the fires. Is there any reason to study the stream sediment carrying capacity?

The conclusion is already evident. Wildfires cause erosion. The post-burn activities won't cause anything but localized soil disturbance. Now is the time to pursue the current source of harm to the water quality, rather than halt the restoration of the burned forest.

Herman Barwick,

P.O. Box 123, Superior

Bison Range

Handing control to tribes is a mistake

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have had a difficult time balancing the need to preserve their culture and the public's need.

There are several examples of this, the most significant being Highway 93. The tribes have continued to argue against public safety over their rights to protect their culture.

Why would the National Bison Range at Moiese be any different? After all, the public need is to have access to this national treasure, and yet, the tribes have said that the Flathead Valley should have fewer visitors, not more.

It would be a mistake to hand the management of this national resource over to Canada, Mexico, or any other sovereign nation.

The federal government does not need to fix that which is not broken!

Wayne Schile,

P.O. Box 309, Polson

Rail service

We need multiple modes of transportation

"We don't rely on the federal government for other modes of transportation, and we shouldn't for rail service, either" (Missoulian editorial May 5). What dream world is your editorial staff living in anyway? Of course we do.

Who do you think pays for and operates the air traffic control system? Who do you think built the interstate highway system, mainly to benefit the trucking industry? We have freely allowed all this to happen with almost total disregard for what has been happening to what was once (and could be again) a great nationwide rail system.

In truth, we need all these systems. To allow any one of them to fall by the wayside because of the lack the intelligent foresight is nothing less than criminal.

Joel Vignere,

P.O. Box 194, Lakeside

Missoula

Gardens of discarded furniture scar city

I moved to Missoula a few years ago, and I find it a nice place to live with art and culture and surrounded by beautiful mountains. But I wonder why it is sometimes called the Garden City. Could it be because of all the old mattresses and couches "decorating" peoples gardens?

Glenda Mars,

1037 Phillips, Missoula

Outdoorsmanship

Noisy vehicles disrespect wild places

How can you experience the "Spirit of the Wild" without a reverence and respect for wild places? The answer is, you can't.

For those who believe they are experiencing the "Spirit of the Wild" while riding a gasoline powered "excessively noisy toy," I think you better re-examine the meaning of the slogan "Spirit of the Wild."

It sounds good on the surface, but upon closer examination the real meaning has been lost.

"Conservation ethic? Hunter? Outdoorsman?" If you want to experience the true "Spirit of the Wild," leave your noisy toy at home.

Mike Phillips,

523 Third Ave. SE, Ronan

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