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Your Views: Brave service members gave all for freedoms
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Joan King has once again penned her weekly diatribe about all that is wrong with the world and with the U.S. in particular.

I look forward to her columns. They are sometimes thought provoking and nearly always irritating. Her latest letter states that mankind must avoid war at all costs. I wonder if she has really counted the costs, especially those already paid on her behalf.

Mrs. King would have us believe that there is some all-knowing individual or party who has perfect foresight to avoid all the entanglements and mistakes that could lead to conflict. The last I heard, the Good Lord was not running for political office.

As is often the case, she filters some facts into her columns to try to give her leftist leanings some credence. It is true that money is made from wars. I don't know of any companies that give away planes, tanks, rockets, etc. There are abuses, and those companies and individuals should be punished with jail sentences.

It is also true that many of our elected politicians seek to further their careers on the sacrifices of our valiant solders, sailors and marines. That's our fault for electing them. Her statement that "one in four U.S. veterans are destitute and living on the streets" is an outright lie.

War is a terrible thing. It is destructive, dehumanizing and evil. And I thank God that so many of our American men and women have recognized that some things are just worth fighting for. Their sacrifices have paid the price for Mrs. King's civil liberties, her right to protest, to worship and to free speech. They would not have all agreed with her, but they paid for her freedoms anyway. That's what America is really about.

Mrs. King quoted Robert E. Lee in a conversation with Gen. Longstreet at Fredricksburg. Va. Well, in Bobby Lee's backyard in Arlington, thousands of men who paid the ultimate price found their final resting places. It is for them that I write this letter.

When you stand on the knoll of a hill at Arlington, you can look in nearly any direction and see row after row of tombstones, each of which represents a life given for our freedoms in this country. I wish that their sacrifices had not been necessary. I know that their families also paid a price, and I also regret and thank them for their sacrifices. I will not allow Mrs. King to dismiss their heroism nor to disrespect them by stating "... as a body they feed the disease of war."

Mrs. King's political opinions about the current war are her right. However, like so many, she refuses to recognize that we are engaged in a world war against militant, Islamic terrorists.

I would much prefer that we fight them in Afghanistan or Iraq or even Iran than on our own streets. We saw their brand of fighting on 9/11 in our own streets. I, for one, have seen enough of that.

Johnny Johnson

Power plants use much of our water
If the average household in Gainesville would completely shut off their water valve for a year, the household would still consume 6,603 gallons of water during that year. How come? That much water is used per year for cooling by the electric plants down the line to supply an average house with power for a year.

According to figures prepared by the electric producers and released by the Atlanta newspaper, it takes one half gallon of water to produce one kilowatt hour of electricity. The average household uses 13,216 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. This would require 6,603 gallons of water. If we burn 10, 100-watt bulbs for an hour, we would use one kilowatt hour of electricity.

The electric plants use more than half of the water that is released by the dam. We have been under the impression cooling water from the plants is returned to the river, but it isn't. Most of it is sent skyward from the cooling towers as water vapor. This vapor forms into clouds and is blown away by the wind. My guess is, this may be why there seems to be more rain in south Georgia.

Theoretically we can save water by using less power and lowering the need for cooling water by the electric plants. At least this water consumption by power plants must go into the equation for allotting Lanier water. This use of water for electric generation was one of the main reasons the dam was built and it has one of the highest priorities for water distribution.

Lee S. Bowers

Deal's forest bill caters to a few radical groups
It appears that our legislators, in cahoots with preservation oriented groups, are hell-bent to place much, if not most, of our National Forest acreage in some type special designation that severely restricts public use of these lands.

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal submitted Bill HR 707 to Congress earlier this year, proposing to add more than 8,000 more acres of wilderness and the 13,000 plus acre Mountaintown tract as a scenic area (sometimes referred to as "wilderness lite") on the Chattahoochee N.F.

The problem is that in initiating this legislation, Mr. Deal worked only with ForestWatch in formulating it, leaving out individuals and groups representing other segments of the public. ForestWatch is a coalition of preservation groups in Georgia, guided primarily by the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society, two radical organizations that are opposed to active management of the National Forests.

Rep. Ed Jenkins, Mr. Deal's predecessor, took the same approach several years ago, working with the Wilderness Society and Forest Service while excluding opponents in setting up the last Wilderness Areas established on the Chattahoochee. That legislation also included the Ed Jenkins NRA and the Coosa Bald Scenic Area, which are practically as restrictive as wilderness designation. It was all planned and put in place before the public even knew about it.

It appears that people may be a little more aware of what is happening to the national forests than during Jenkins reign. Deal received enough negative feedback from his original proposal that he withdrew it. However, he wasted little time in reformulating and coming up with a new proposal aimed at the most important part of the old Bill. His new bill, HR 4092, includes only the 13,000 acre Mountaintown Scenic Area proposal. By dropping the wilderness portion of the old bill, he probably figured he would get little opposition to the scenic area proposal.

What everyone needs to understand is that scenic area designation is practically as restrictive as wilderness designation (therefore the "wilderness lite" descriptive term). Roads will be closed and active management terminated, other than possibly allowing maintenance of a few wildlife openings.

The most critical need for wildlife, especially in the Mountaintown area of the Chattahoochee National Forest, is early successional habitat created by timber harvesting. The Mountaintown Scenic proposal is located immediately adjacent to the Cohutta Wilderness Area, which, at nearly 40,000 acres, is already the largest established wilderness area on national forests in the East. We certainly don't need another 13,000 acres that we can't manage added to the total in that area.

Less than half the Chattahoochee N.F. is available for effective wildlife management at present. It's time the public let Deal and other legislators know that the national forests are out there for everyone to use, and should not be locked up to serve the whims of a few radical preservation groups.

Monte E. Seehorn