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What the war is

A cash cow for the military industrial complex because it's guaranteed greater profits from another Bush administration. They know Commander Bush will continue milking the war for that purpose.

A money pit for U.S. middle-class taxpayers who have already paid &

36;190 billion. Bush/Cheney cronies like Halliburton are embedded in Iraq because they got no-bid contracts for its reconstruction. They'll profiteer more into the billions and raise the cost of the war a half trillion dollars before the end of Bush's second term.

A death trap for U.S. soldiers because Bush's misconceived invasion escalated the war on terrorism by increasing the number of terrorists in the world ' making Americans less safe. Middle-class Iraqis want a legitimate Iraqi representative government, while poor Iraqis fight for their dignity and the reconstruction jobs. More U.S. soldiers will die because it's politically expedient for Bush to keep Iraq's middle class and the poor Iraqis powerless. ' Richard Altig, Talent

When will we learn?

Recently the MT reported that an enormous fish kill occurred in Bear Creek near downtown Medford. From the vast variety of fish killed, it was reported most likely to be an illegal dumping.

A few days before this I read an article about green herons nesting on Queen Anne in Medford in trees that had been saved from being cut down. I hope there's still some fish left for the herons' food supply.

A few days later I read about a developer who cut down oak trees in Central Point on Arbor Day (nice irony), buried them in a trench which has been discovered, and once again the air is full of the sounds of machinery trying to correct the damage. Trees take a long time to grow; streams take a long time to clean up. When will humans learn that trees produce the very air we breathe and that we, too, are part of the food chain here on earth? ' Maggie Smith, Talent

Heartened and dismayed

While reading the letters to the editor in the Mail Tribune, I was both heartened and dismayed. First I read the disingenuous letter from Valerie McCluskey in which she doubts that John Kerry earned the medals he received in Vietnam, extracting the information from a computer site that is smearing Kerry.

Obviously, she didn't know what she was writing about. I can say that because I spent more than 23 years in the service, and my time in 'Nam too. I know it could have all been earned in three days! Not probable, but possible.

Then I read the letter from Larry Slessler who was so right on. I was briefly transported back to those days of lives being wrenched from young bodies, and shivered.

John Kerry could only be on that Swift boat by volunteering; the job was that dangerous. He has my respect! ' Steve Rowley, Medford

Opinion on the money

Alberto Enriquez's guest opinion on Aug. 19 was right on the money. Thank you for standing up and fighting for public education.

It's time to stop scapegoating the bedrock of our democratic system. The vast majority of teachers are hard-working, dedicated, intelligent, creative and resourceful people.

They are not

the only ones in charge of helping our future generations be successful ' it's our entire society's job. Until that's realized, and we choose to become socially responsible towards and more involved in our nation's youth, we will see only part of our great country's future potential. ' Diana Gilley, Medford

Keep America safe

John Kerry says he will strongly defend America, but his Senate record suggests otherwise. Six times in the last decade he voted to freeze or reduce defense spending. In eight years on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence he missed 38 of 49 public meetings. After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, he proposed &

36;7.5 billion in intelligence cuts. In 1994, even Ted Kennedy voted against his defeated proposal to cut intelligence funding &

36;6 billion. From slandering fellow soldiers as war criminals to confessing to war crimes himself to his 20 year anti-defense voting record, his actions show him to be the wrong man to lead in such perilous times.

President Bush is a proven war-time leader. Unwilling to wait for the next attack, he is taking the war to the terrorists, pursuing and destroying them wherever they can be found in the world. Keep America safe: vote Bush. 'Lynn Barton, Medford

Thorns and thistles

Like many Christians, I'd like to have a president who prays, but let's not forget that throughout history men have claimed to be spokesmen for God when in fact they were merely wolves in sheep clothing pursuing power and money.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, By their fruit shall you know them. Bush has had four years to demonstrate genuine faith, but what I've seen looks more like thorns and thistles. While giving little more than lip service to a handful of moral issues, he's otherwise used fear and deception to take advantage of the masses for the benefit of the wealthy ' hardly the way of Christ.

I'm no Democrat, but I still won't be so naive as to follow a man simply because he claims to pray. ' M. Lewis, Central Point