Heavy toll on Afghan children

More reports coming out of Afghanistan indicate more dead children (“Protests grow over civilian deaths,” PWW 9/6-12).

Civilian casualties are a perpetual reality in Afghanistan. In July, 47 were killed in another air strike. Last year there were said to be 320 civilian deaths due to U.S. and NATO attacks; this year no improvement appears evident.

A tragic historic reality is the U.S. relationship to the most extreme members of the mujahideen. In the early 1980s the Reagan administration along with Congressman Charlie Wilson sought out, funded and armed some of the worst human rights abusers and anti-democratic forces in its Cold War maneuvers to expel the Soviets. During that time I recall Pacifica Radio reporting on the mujahideen routinely bombing and burning down girls’ schools, along with committing rape and murder. This group was one of Reagan’s “freedom fighters.” The evolution of the mujahideen, today’s Taliban, was a predictable occurrence.

Rebuilding Afghanistan’s infrastructure, food aid and agricultural support are common-sense endeavors we should be engaged in. The most exemplary American in the region is Greg Mortenson, who has built and funded dozens of girls’ schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His book “Three Cups of Tea” is a must-read for those who want to gain a better understanding of the area. A cessation of killing civilians should be the U.S. and NATO’s primary venture, not continued denials and excuses.

Brian McAfee

Muskegon Heights MI

What we need today

Good job, Tim Wheeler, for the article on the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Aug. 30 — Sept. 5 issue. How desperately we need a present-day counterpart of the CCC to repair the mess that has been imposed on our country — not least the disrepair of the infrastructure — and provide jobs to millions of unemployed workers: laborers, artisans, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, architects, carpenters, etc., who could repair and modernize deteriorating roads, buildings, bridges, foundations, equipment, etc., and build new ones. Also, as was proven by FDR’s CCC, educational, cultural, health and scientific projects would flourish.

And all at a fraction of the cost taxpayers are supplying for U.S. invasions and destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now, Pakistan. Not to forget the inestimable cost of thousands of lives, and counting.

Ellen Perlo

Croton-on-Hudson NY

No, baby, don’t drill

Please write your members of Congress. We do not need to “drill, drill, drill!” The American people are being fooled into believing that they will pay less at the pump if we just give the oil companies, the Republicans supported by their lobbyists and led by Sen. McCain the right to dig into our public parks and our offshore waters.


• If we sucked up all the oil out of the Arctic (ANWR) in Alaska it would only be a 1-1/2-year supply.

• Drilling offshore of all our beaches we might get another two-year supply!

• If all that oil was flowing tomorrow, according to Bush’s EIA (Energy Information Administration), it would have an “insignificant” effect at the pump.

• If all this drilling was authorized by the government today it couldn’t start for five years because all the drilling ships are booked solid for that long and it would take 20 years to reach the market! The ANWR oil would not reach the market before 2018.

• Big Oil blocs in the Senate with McCain’s support are denying $18 billion in tax credits for renewable energy entrepreneurs while they want to open public land for oil but NOT wind or any other projects.

Please write Congress today. Educate your neighbors, towns and all others who are fighting for new sources of energy.

Vivian Weinstein

Colorado Springs CO

Why would McCain think of Palin?

Clearly, Obama was speaking about McCain’s program, or lack of one, when he used the well-known phrase about lipstick on a pig. But McCain immediately thinks of Sarah Palin! If I were Palin, I’d whomp him one.

Betty Smith

New York NY

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