Letters

Letters Don't expect energy bill

To the editor:

Don't expect to see Congress pass an energy bill any time before November. The South Dakota ethanol industry is just going to have to wait until John Thune's friends in Washington are willing to put the politics aside.

Republican Senate Leader Bill Frist thought he was doing John Thune "a favor" by switching his vote and voting against Sen. Tom Daschle's ethanol legislation, which would double the nation's use of ethanol within 10 years and create 10,000 jobs in South Dakota. Frist convinced 29 of his Senate colleagues to do the same.

John Thune's friends are holding South Dakota's future hostage in order to help get him elected. Don't expect to see Thune apologize for it any time soon.

Berwyn Svoboda

Burbank

A great man, greater president

To the editor:

I read the letter from Eric J. Gundlach-Evan with interest. His views demonstrate the necessity of free speech and support the backbone of democracy. Having said that, his accusations and views of President Reagan neglected to mention the mess that the Great Orator inherited from President Carter.

Eric seems to have missed the hostages taken in Iran and the inability of the Carter administration to effectively release them. When the administration finally found the courage to attempt a release, the bureaucrats of the administration intertwined so many actions and bungled the planning of the rescue to the point that it failed miserably while leading to the deaths of American service members in the deserts of Iran.

One service member actually escaped by walking out of Iran as the administration had no plan for egressing the service members should the mission fail. This bungled effort led to the kidnapping of Terry Waite and other westerners by Hezbollah as they realized the great military of the United States was to be construed as a toothless lion and had no fear of reciprocity.

Just days after President Reagan took office, the hostages were released; bearing proof that the terrorists of the world had no respect for or fear of President Carter. Thusly, President Reagan was left the daunting challenge of rebuilding the United States' image throughout the world as a world power not to be trifled with. The way forward was not as clear then as the history books make it appear now.

Granted the points about arming the Mujahaddin are true and siding with Saddam Hussein as well. Politics makes strange bedfellows as does the war on terrorism. It is easy to sit on the sidelines, read a few history books and pass judgment. It is a much greater challenge to be the decision maker at the time and try to protect the free world against impending threats while keeping integrity in check and fixing the economic mess and gutted military you had inherited from the prior administration.

President Reagan did that and continued to do so for two terms. Eric also fails to point out that the Soviet Union was continuing its push on expansionism; using Afghanistan as its launch point to dominate the Middle East and the world's oil supply. Thus President Reagan was left few choices other than to arm the Mujahadin as our military was in no condition nor would the public have stood for a direct conflict in the Afghani mountains against the Soviet Union.

The Iranians made clear their hated of the United States and intimated many threats to include blocking shipping lanes for oil distribution; thus the alliance with Iraq; whom up to that point had projected itself as a model nation of human rights development in the Middle East by establishing women's rights and socialized health care. This of course was prior to Saddam's demonstrated and now well known despotic behavior.

Iran, in the past, had been a very loyal ally; the thought pattern at this point was to rekindle that alliance so as to further Middle East stability.

Eric does a fine job of finger pointing; he provides no alternate courses of action for either then or now. President Reagan inherited the United States in possibly its worst condition since the Great Depression and led it from the depths back into the single world power projecting democracy around the world as the United States had been before.

How the country was taken there will always be subject to debate and criticism; it does not belie the fact that President Reagan led the United States back to that position. Therein lays the logic for celebrating the accomplishments of this great man and greater president.

Jim Larsen

Vermillion

Isn't it time to overturn oppressive laws?

To the editor:

What I am writing here is without benefit of any formal research but is based on a lifetime of reading and six years living in Germany and traveling throughout western Europe.

For several years I have been disturbed by the legal interpretations of our Constitution and the thinking of our founding fathers when they insisted on the separation of church and state in that document. It seems to me that certain vested interests, using the legal system have twisted the original meaning of this concept to fit their thinking and prejudices and do not fit the meaning of our founding fathers nor of a great many people who currently make up our nation.

First and foremost our Founding Fathers conceived of our nation as a community of Christians with a scattering of other religious people with other beliefs that they were tolerant of. Prayers by a minister have been a part of the opening of legislative bodies since this nation was founded.

Prayer was a part of every school in this country except for the present prohibition of the past few years. Dedication of buildings, both public and private has had a minister as a part of the ceremony on most occasions.

Our forefathers were all too aware of the strife in England caused by King Henry the VIII in splitting the Church of England away from its Roman Catholic heritage. They were also aware of the many corrupt acts of Catholic clergy in France and other counties over an extended period.

They were aware of taxation as a means of supporting churches in Europe that was still being collected while I lived in Germany in 1952-1955 and 1961-1964. I presume these taxes are still assessed today. That I believe, is the basis for separation of church and state.

Isn't it time to overturn some of these oppressive laws, declare ourselves as a Christian nation tolerant of other worship groups who can carry out their beliefs in peace and privacy. Should prayer in school be available to all students and if some are agnostics it can be a time of meditation for them?

With respect to the issue of "Right to Life," I believe that every child that is brought into this world has the right to be loved, cared for, provided with food, shelter and opportunity. If those things are missing from their life then we do them a disservice by insisting that they be born to someone who does not love or care for them or lacks the resources to allow the child to flourish even in modest circumstances. Who is better prepared to deal with this problem than the expectant mother?

Young Moore III

Vermillion

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