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We become the bully

Saddam is a bad guy. He has not disarmed. He isn't fully cooperating with United Nations inspectors. The world would be better off without him.

That being said, why does the U.S. need to attack Iraq now? The official answer to that question is: We fear some unspecified threat to the United States in the future.

There is no evidence that he has done anything in recent years that could be called a direct threat to the U.S. There is little reason to believe he would attack the U.S. in the future, unless we attack Iraq, of course.

Attacking Iraq right now would be analogous to a schoolboy attacking the school bully solely because he had seen the bully attack another child the previous week. Sure, the bully might deserve an attack, but isn't there a nonviolent solution?

Violence only begets more violence. When we attack first, we become the bully.

The United States should hold itself to a higher standard. We are the most powerful nation on earth. We have the power to be the bully, but we should have the sense to choose not to take that role. We should lead the world by setting a peaceful example.' Larry Laitner, Ashland

Drunks should pay

In response to your editorial of Feb. 7: I agree that drunks need to be kept off the streets but I also think they should have to pay for the time it takes them to sober up in the county sobering unit. Before being released they should be assessed a fine, pay whatever the cost or do community service. If they have no sense of responsibility it must be given to them.

The taxpayer should not be taking the responsibility away from the drunk. If you sleep it off at taxpayers' expense (&

36;242,000 in 2002), you pay. ' Donnis Lausmann, Medford

Nursing home says thanks

The care and safety of our residents is our number one concern. We are pleased to report that we believe we have contained the viral gastroenteritis. We have had no new cases for five days. Based upon consultation with the county health department, we are clear to admit residents to the facility again.

We want to thank our residents, their families and the employees for their support. We also appreciate the hard work of our medical director and the Jackson County Public Health Department for their efforts in helping us protect the health of our residents.

We appreciate the support the community has shown us and we will continue to strive to provide the quality care the citizens of Medford deserve and expect. ' Grant Gloor, administrator, Medford Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Medford

Stop the immigrant invasion

Providing for the common defense is a primary mandate of the Constitution. The first line of defense must be our borders.

It's past time to secure them ' north and south. Stop the political pandering and protect our own country. Particularly unsettling are the hordes (as many as 10,000 some days) of illegals flooding in.

We've heard all the rationalizations: No one else will do the jobs they do, etc. Who, but they, comprise surprisingly large numbers of inmates in both state and federal prisons ' all at taxpayer expense. The other 10 million to 12 million illegals may not get free room and board, but they do ravage the limited fiscal resources of the system in ways too numerous to list here.

Call this isolationism if you will. It is a good thing, as defined by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Charles Krauthammer, Isolationism in the name of a principle, in the name of our own security, in the name of rationality is an honorable position.

Because we care deeply about freedom and our way of life in this great country, we feel we must speak up loudly and often. Please join us to stop this invasion. ' Tom and Carol Moeller, Medford

Heaven help us

New bill introduced in the Oregon Legislature on Tuesday, Feb. 4, as quoted in the Mail Tribune on Feb. 6: Permit police agencies to collect information on political, social and religious views and activities of individuals and groups if requested by the federal government as part of an investigation (HB 2554 by Rep. Donna Nelson, R-McMinnville).

Sounds just like Nazi Germany in the 1930s! What is happening to our precious Constitution? ' Heide Seeman, Medford

Two PERS solutions

The move to cap the rate of return on PERS pensions is a good first step to solving the crisis. The Legislature needs to quickly adopt two additional measures.

1.) Prohibit any PERS retirees from assuming their old job within one year of the date of retirement (this curtails unnecessary double-dipping), and 2.) Prohibit a PERS retiree from receiving their retirement check while working for any other PERS eligible organization. They don't lose that money, it simply earns interest, but they cannot receive both at the same time.

Both rules were adopted years ago by CALPERS, the largest non-federal pension fund in the world, and it has led to a sound, stable fund. ' Tim Johnson, Jacksonville

Points to ponder

A recent letter writer takes this paper to task for admonishing Jack Day over his use of the n word in a private conversation.

Points to ponder:

1. Jack Day is an elected representative and he was meeting as an elected official with two members of a watchdog group. I do not believe this was a private conversation.

But even if it was, racial slurs, be they passive or aggressive, are never appropriate, privately or publicly, and it is my belief that private/passive racism is more damaging in the long run than the public/aggressive kind. It is certainly more prevalent.

2. The n word goes way beyond the controversy of politically correct/incorrect and the conservative/liberal battles of today, and the letter writer insults our intelligence by trying to minimize Mr. Day's actions behind these terms.

3. Please explain to me how it is possible to utter a phrase that has something to do with a n jumping out of a woodpile and not mean it in a racist way? Better yet, please explain it to my children. ' Barbara Curtis-Scott, Medford

Take a deep breath

Why war? Why on earth would we want to send our sons and daughters into a war with Iraq, when at this very moment there are weapons inspectors there searching out and prepared to destroy any weapons of mass destruction?

Why would we want to risk offending important allies by rushing into armed conflict when the rest of the U.N. Security Council just wants more time to let the inspections work? How does George Bush think that we can simultaneously spend tens of billions of dollars on a war with Iraq when our own country is in economic crisis?

Let's all take a deep breath and let the inspections work, for the sake of our sons and daughters, our economy and our good relations with members of the United Nations. Let's push for tough and thorough inspections and win without war. ' Gaia Layser, Ashland

A wonderful addition

Off again with some kind of flood plain complaint against the Applegate Christian Fellowship. Ask the watchdogs who are watching out for us, even though not asked, admit that traffic is the problem. Move ACF to urban, move Jacksonville Presbyterian to rural?

What a wonderful addition ACF is to the area. Beautiful to the eye. You can't say that for some of the area around it.

The traffic on Sunday is over by 12:30 p.m. Big deal. As far as making any development near a waterway safe, look at Shady Cove in the late '60s.

Come join us. ACF is a great addition to your community. Hope the dogs don't start looking at some of your places out there. ' Byron Kimler, Trail

Seeking medical history

My name is Diana D. McCloud. I am looking for the daughters or granddaughters of Shelby and Dorothy Wilcox. My late father, Walter Albert McCloud Jr., was raised by the Wilcoxes after his parents, Walter Albert McCloud Sr. and Hattie Plum McCloud, died.

The reason that I am looking, is that over the last eight years I have had some very serious health problems, including breast cancer, which is not on my mother's side of the family.

I am not looking for a reunion, just medical information. It will be kept in strict confidence.

If you have any information on the health history of the McCloud, Plum, or Wilcox families, please write to me at 720 W. 11th St., Medford, OR 97501. ' Diana D. McCloud, Medford

Making Oregon unattractive

I think I now understand the Oregon aversion to taxes: It is a subtle scheme to make the state as unattractive as possible to those who may consider moving here from states such as Washington, Colorado and especially California.

Who with school-age children would want to move to a state that has poor quality and overcrowded public primary and secondary schools? Or to a state that has poor quality, overpriced public colleges and universities?

Or to a state that lays off sworn peace officers while at the same time it releases convicts? Or to a state that refuses to provide the care and concern to those who need them most?

I would bet that with a few more cleverly worded ballot measures, Oregon could cut and sell all of its timber, catch and sell all of its fish and fund with the proceeds the level of government desired. Employment would skyrocket and we could all live uncrowded, unfettered and tax-free. ' Harry Freiberg, Brookings

Neither just nor effective

We stand at the crossroads; How will conflicts be resolved and just solutions achieved in a world of diverse cultures and values?

From its predominant power position, the U.S. espouses increasingly arrogant and unilateral policies. Our national security pronouncement envisions and defends use of preemptive strikes, which Dwight Eisenhower would have recognized as aggression.

Earth's citizens must build peace through justice, equity, human rights, international consensus and diplomacy; else we condemn ourselves globally to self-perpetuating violence like that of Israelis and Palestinians with all of today's horrific weaponry.

Attacking Iraq, lacking sound evidence of imminent danger or multilateral international consensus, betrays our national values while putting our security at greater risk. It creates precedent for a chaotic international environment, inflames passions of those who suffer injustices, handing them to terrorist recruiters. It's a policy that can neither be just nor effective.

Warfare is human failure; terror to all who experience it. It requires overwhelmingly just cause when all alternatives have been exhausted. The case for strong inspections to disarm Iraq is made; justification for war is not.

We know from 9/11 what those people will feel; we must distinguish ourselves from the perpetrators of that horror. We mustn't become them. ' Rob Hirschboeck, Ashland

A few questions

To critics of Peace House, a few questions:

Why are the administration and its supporters afraid of open debate? What's wrong with looking at alternatives that will not kill civilians, annihilate their country, endanger our troops or direct more hatred toward us?

If Saddam really has the weapons that Bush says he has, then explain the rationale of putting 250,000 American soldiers within range of them. An unprecedented first strike would give Saddam the excuse to actually use them. Explain how acting unilaterally against a sovereign nation will create anything except more hatred.

Saddam is cornered: no-fly zones, satellite surveillance and inspectors keeping him on the run; he's already neutralized. Continuing this is less expensive, doesn't treat non-American lives as worth less, and doesn't serve as an al-Qaida recruitment vehicle.

The facts indicate more danger from North Korea; thankfully we are attempting to solve this problem peacefully. This despite the fact that North Korea has proven nuclear weapons, the proven capability to deliver them and a leader crazy enough to threaten to use them! I haven't heard anyone explain why we're dealing with North Korea differently. It's either because of what they have ' WOMD ' or what they don't have ' oil! ' Rick Browne, Ashland