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Letters, Aug. 17

Who is isolating whom?

Regarding “U.S. vows to isolate Taliban …”, AP story in the MT, Aug. 11, page A5:

“… many are at odds to explain why the regular [Afghan] forces have collapsed, …”

I can explain it.

Afghanistan has long been an insular, tribal society structured around the family and the clan. Individual Afghans have little or no loyalty to their country as a whole or empathy for the Afghan citizenry at large. That is why Afghan security forces have been “fleeing the battle sometimes by the hundreds.” Essentially, it’s every man and woman for themselves.

Also, the Taliban couldn’t care less about being branded as “global pariahs” on the world stage. These are Muslim fundamentalists who are wholly devoted to a minimalist lifestyle strictly circumscribed by the laws of Islam. They first defeated the British. Then they eventually beat the Russians. Now, they ultimately overcame the U.S., too. These decades-long wars against invading non-believers have been fought successfully as religious crusades.

In a sense vis-a-vis their continual, resolute resistance to foreign interlopers, the Taliban can even be somewhat admired both for such prolonged perseverance against those intruders and for their deep, steadfast dedication to a stringent though radical interpretation of Islam.

Dohn Addleman


Frightened and discouraged

I had the honor of practicing endocrinology and internal medicine in Medford since 1989. Our medical system in Medford has been an incredible asset for us and our community.

COVID-19 has now stressed this system to its limits. Each day record numbers of cases enter hospitals so full that other medical care must be curtailed.

We have treatments and behaviors that can mitigate the effects of this disaster. The first thing every resident who is a candidate for the vaccine can do is to get vaccinated. The vaccine is free to all. Its safety is being continuously evaluated and monitored. There are very few things we do every day that are less risky than these vaccines.

I implore everyone to get the vaccine! It’s the best way to protect others (including children too young to currently qualify for it) and to honor those health care workers who every day risk their own life and health to care for the rest of us. Please do the right thing so we can hopefully get past this scourge and resume our lives in the valley! Thank you for your compassion and your help.

James W. Theen, M.D., FACP, FACE


Addressing the hospital crisis

We need to rethink our medical ethics and triage protocols.

Regardless of how ill, those who choose to refuse vaccination should not be allowed to monopolize our medical facilities and resources. They made a choice and we should respect that choice.

When they contract COVID-19, they should be quarantined and placed at the bottom of the triage lists. Give them the respect they deserve by letting them die by their beliefs or delusions. But nobody should be denied access to a ventilator or have non-elective surgery postponed because of the choices of the unvaccinated.

Benjamin Ben-Baruch