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Community Forum: This veteran prefers Obama's judgment
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As a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Navy from 1968-1972, I must comment on your recent article incorrectly stating that most or all veterans support John McCain. Let me state, emphatically, that I do not.

While all veterans are to be commended for their service and note must be made of Sen. McCain's time as a POW, a thinking voter is more interested in the political decisions made by the candidate and how that will impact his future decisions. In the case of McCain, he is lacking in judgment on all counts.

The first and most important qualification of a military leader or commander in chief is that he uses his resources with the utmost care, and in the case of the troops, they must be used wisely. Sadly, McCain's support of the "grandest strategic blunder" in the nation's history, the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq, disqualifies him from further service.

What some might call "experience" is, in fact, a clear indication of his complete lack of judgment in such critical matters. As a result, more than 4,000 brave American troops have been wasted in an effort that has done nothing to aid our cause against terrorists, and have only increased their numbers and determination. McCain is clearly not qualified to lead our brave troops.

I was also surprised to see you quote Sen. Saxby Chambliss. What struck me was that he had the nerve to use the term "coward." Like so many of our "warrior class," Chambliss did not deign to wear the uniform of our nation. Like Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and President Bush and so many others who sit idly by and cheer on our "noble war effort," he never served, and yet he is all for sending other people to fight the fight while he sits on the sidelines and makes "bold" statements, like "bring it on" and other such dangerous nonsense.

Chambliss, your chest-beating would be comic were it not costing the lives of brave Americans who are willing to sacrifice for what they believe in, who are willing to put their lives on the line for their convictions, as opposed to running their mouth with empty rhetoric and tough talk.

Do not be fooled. As Sen. Barack Obama has so rightly pointed out, we took our eye off the ball. We let Osama bin Laden get away into Afghanistan and focused instead on Saddam Hussein and Iraq, despite the fact that it had nothing to do with 9/11. President Bush himself has acknowledged this fact.

McCain himself said that "we can muddle through" in Afghanistan, that our work there was done, and he fully supported the disastrous diversion of our men and resources to satisfy Cheney's and Bush's personal vendetta against Saddam.

Clearly, McCain will continue these mistakes, so this is one veteran who will be voting for Obama and Joe Biden.

Thomas Payne
Flowery Branch

A note to our senator: Bailout is a bad idea
This is in response to a letter received from Sen. Saxby Chambliss concerning his bailout vote: Thank you for your letter. I know that you really believe everything you wrote and what you did, but I don't. All that was done in my opinion, as well as others', is saving overzealous, overpaid, selfish, inconsiderate corrupt people who could care less about real hard-working people who do without every day and make ends meet with the leftovers that our government lets us have.

Your bailout was a joke and it isn't helping, which most of us knew it wouldn't. But this is what happens when you steal and try to hide it. Money was given out to people who shouldn't have it; they mishandled what they had to begin with. Now they laugh because they got us again. Looks like we're all going to get slammed this time around. How much more will they need six months from now?

I think I'm gonna need a bailout, too. I think that if I just had say, oh a mill or two, that I could quit working for the pence I make and stay at home.

We need the depression that you all have worked so hard to give us. Had anybody cared about the bailout, there would not have been all the stuff thrown in to make it pass. But that's government's way. You're all greedy, corrupt and self-centered. You have forgotten who put you there. I can only hope the voters will wake up before they go to the polls.

I have been a Republican a long time, but that will soon change. I will not vote Democrat. I think both parties have been in office too long; I can't tell them apart any more. I will not vote Republican again until someone comes along who does mean what they say and say what they mean. I think it's time to give the third parties a try.

Democrats complain that President Bush is the reason our economy is so messed up. Sorry, but that's not altogether true. We had eight years of President Clinton and he did his fair share of screw-ups that carried over to the next eight years.

Bush told us what to expect from the war and that it was going to be bad. What we didn't know and weren't told was that our financial institutions were going to drive our economy into the ground. I think I have enough education to do as good a job as anybody you guys have hired. Got any openings?

Thank you for not listening to the taxpayers. I am glad that my vote isn't important enough for my party to take seriously.

Rebecca Shockley

Remembering the great works of Gen. Marshall
It's worth noting that Oct. 16 marks the 49th anniversary of the death of one of the most important people of the 20th century. General of the Army George C. Marshall died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after a lengthy illness. It's regretful that Gen. Marshall is also probably the least remembered of the pantheon of great leaders of that saved America and the world from fascism in World War II and communism later.

Marshall would have much preferred to have been on the front as allied commander in Europe. He abided by the wishes of his commander in chief who said he was more valuable in Washington. Marshall effectively managed a huge two-front war. He also balanced personalities such as Patton, McArthur, Churchill and FDR.

After V-J Day, with little respite, President Truman named Marshall as ambassador to China. After a year and a half, he returned home when the president appointed him secretary of state.

As secretary, Marshall knew that something needed to be done to help Europe or the communists could conquer the continent as it remained in shambles. The Marshall Plan saved Europe. It was also during this time that Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower formulated the idea for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to coordinate defensive and offensive efforts in the cold and possible hot war against the Russians.

After a brief respite at his Virginia farm, Truman called on Marshall again, this time as secretary of defense during the Korean Conflict, a position he held until September 1951.

Marshall was recognized for his outstanding service to the world. Twice he was named Times Man of the Year and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for the Marshall Plan.

Marshall had his detractors. A group of vocal extremists tried to paint Marshall as a communist sympathizer. During his confirmation in the Senate as defense secretary, Marshall's life was best summed up by Massachusetts Sen. Leverett Saltonstall: If there was ever a life spent in the interest of our country, it is the life of George C. Marshall.

Rick Segers