What are we really fighting for?
Mary Kit Hogan's recent letter [Inbox, July 30, 2008] expressed opposition to Portland offering sanctuary to military deserters, on the grounds that they are volunteers who have broken their word. While on balance I don't agree with this position, it does have some merit and is at least worthy of debate. However, I do wish to challenge one of her wilder and more tangential statements.
Ms. Hogan asserts that "Every freedom we enjoy in this country has come from the sacrifice and blood of the military." Did she learn and accept this rubbish in grade school? Regardless of where this idea comes from, it does not stand up well to examination.
The last time the military secured/established a freedom for Americans was in 1865, but they haven't bothered much with that sort of thing since then. All subsequent wars have been fought abroad and involved no risk of a foreign power conquering and subjugating the American people. Moreover, it is unlikely that "the blood and sacrifice of the military" have made much of a contribution to the religious, sexual or social freedoms enjoyed today by the inhabitants of this country.
Conservative estimates put last year's defense budget in the region of 550 billion dollars, while federal receipts excluding social security were about 1300 billion. Other developed countries, unburdened by huge standing armies, have the freedom to spend their taxes on education and healthcare.
Southeast Division Street
Accountability, not cash
Those individuals who hope that Mr. Sharma wins a large settlement against Vancouver ["Good Cop, Mad Cop," WW, July 30, 2008], I would like to remind you that cities pay their rewards with your tax dollars.
No person should be punished for having integrity but those who do not share the same morals will seek to do so. The best choice would be to remove yourself from their sphere of influence, which Mr. Sharma did not do.
Not only has he been punished for his actions but the people of Vancouver will be punished as well if he wins a large settlement. Cash may be an answer, but it has far-reaching ramifications. I hope all police departments can learn a bit about being more aware about their role in the embodiment of integrity.
I also hope that Mr. Sharma writes a book that could become a source of economic reimbursement rather than taking the money of the people of Vancouver.
By all means win the case but ask for accountability instead of cash. They are not the same thing as so many people may believe.
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