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Letter: Manton Discusses Eighth Anniversary of Invasion of Afghanistan

Friday, 02 October 2009 00:00

October of 2009 marks the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, an invasion that has lasted longer than World War II. In these eight years, the United States has made no more progress than the Soviet Union made eight years into its invasion of that country back in the 1980s. The nation that defeated the central and axis powers and held the U.S.S.R. and Warsaw Pact at bay through the deterrence of massive military response can’t vanquish an enemy that has no navy, no air force, no military-industrial complex, no planet-wide military and diplomatic alliances, no place in the global market, and no arsenal of such lethal contrivances as nuclear weapons, nerve gas, fuel-air explosives, and enhanced radiation devices.

The United States and its allies are losing the war against international terrorism in the classic example of insurgency vs. military giant (barbarians/Romans, Finns/Soviets, American colonists/British, Viet Cong/Americans) because they never understood its fundamental nature in the first place. An enraged elephant can’t defeat a colony of determined army ants no matter how many of them it tramples upon. It can only avoid them and, using its great strength, erect barriers that they will find insurmountable and unable to perform their tasks.

What do I mean? In the 1990s the Clinton administration was rightly criticized for handling international terrorism much like a routine law enforcement matter as though terrorists could only function as isolated criminal gangs. The Bush and Obama administration was, and is, criticized for addressing the problem as one strictly military in nature. It’s far more complex than either of those things: it’s part and parcel of the whole problem of modernity and the clash of civilizational values thereof. In 1960, for example, Moslems growing up in Egypt or Saudi Arabia saw modernization and the West in terms of modern medicine, electricity, sanitation, and the oil industry. Today, in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Moslems are moving away from the secularism their parents embraced and toward religious fundamentalism much as the United States has done in some respects. (It would be difficult, for example, to picture Truman or Eisenhower expressing the overt religious sentiments that have been expressed by U.S. presidents since Carter). They grow up taking the material comforts and technology of the modern world for granted but are disillusioned because - and this is also true of people outside the Islamic world - man does not live by McDonald’s alone. Material wealth and freedom mean nothing if they arrive accompanied by spiritual and intellectual impoverishment; crass consumerism, childish gadgetry, and the mindless worship of celebrity athletes and entertainers leave human beings empty shells. In such a world, the clergyman who can convince young radical Moslems that hijacking aircraft and crashing them into buildings does not reflect the true teachings of the Koran is worth more than an entire platoon of marines.

It is very likely that the U.S. will fail to subdue the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan and be compelled to withdraw its military forces. In the end, however, international terrorism is fueled by an ideological mechanism that will eventually run out of steam and stumble over its own intransigence just as Puritanism did at the end of the 17th century and just as international communism did at the end of the 20th century. In the meanwhile, it needs to be contained and dismantled piecemeal with a multitude of solutions fitting given situations and crisis’. Yes, occasional military strikes conducted against terrorist targets will be necessary. Yes, such controversial techniques like assassination of terrorist leaders and the torture and execution of captured terrorists will be required. (The rights of thousands of innocent people not to be murdered being more important than the “rights” of terrorists conjured by pie-in-the-sky law professors who evidently have little of value to teach their students about the real world and the nature of human conflict). And yes, houses of worship will have to be monitored, clergymen kept under close watch, freedom of religion more adequately defined, and transglobal communications systems censored. Perhaps, too, an international effort to abolish the global arms trade and economic sanctions against those nations that flood the world with weapons that invariably fall into the hands of terrorists. And certainly the militarization of the U.S. border to prevent illegal crossing by potential criminals and terrorists.

What’s being done in Iraq and Afghanistan, what’s been done these last eight years, not only defies sanity but will have no more significant impact on international terrorism than the Vietnam War had in bringing down international communism. The irony, too, is that the United States in Afghanistan is making some of the same mistakes made by the Soviet Union even though its intent is benign.

Paul Manton

 

Letter: East Broadway Student Thanks Community for Donations

Friday, 25 September 2009 00:00

My name is Erin Vaughan Ware, I am 10 years old and go to East Broadway School. Over the summer while I was shopping for school supplies, I had an idea to donate my backpack to someone who might need it, and thought my friends might want to do the same.

 

Letter: Colorado Firefighter Climbs for Levittown Firefighter Killed on 9/11

Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00

My name is Matt Seube and I am a firefighter with Falcon Fire Department near Colorado Springs, CO. On Sept. 11, there was the Annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb of the Qwest Tower in Denver, Colorado, which is climbed twice to equal the 110 stories of the World Trade Centers.

 

Letter: Manton Discusses Health Care Issue

Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00

Private or public? The free market or the government? Which one is it? Which one can provide the best health care? That’s the national issue that, sooner or later, will trickle down to every community and household in America. Why, I must ask, has this issue become a question of either/or? I mean, in of themselves, neither the free market nor the government is very good at addressing society’s needs and that’s the reality that has evaporated in the heart of polarization.

 

Letter: Calories in Restaurant Food

Friday, 11 September 2009 00:00

I’m like many people in our county who pours over nutrition labels on all the food I buy. I want to know exactly what it is I’m eating, and more importantly, how many calories I’m consuming. As the American Heart Association will tell you, calories “in” should equal calories “out” if you want to maintain your current weight. Our diet should be equivalent to our physical activity. But if we don’t know what we’re eating, how are we to know how many laps to walk around the neighborhood?

When Suffolk County passed the law to allow us to see how many calories we’re consuming at restaurants, I was shocked at what I found out! So many items at these chain restaurants were overflowing with calories – and I had no idea that certain foods I firmly thought of as treats had actually fewer calories than other items I would purchase regularly. In one popular coffee chain, the walnut bran muffin was actually higher in calories than the rainbow cookie with baked-in chocolate candies.

I hope that Nassau County Legislators are listening to us when they vote on this policy in September! Nassau County needs this law – we deserve to know what we’re eating!

Nick Racanelli

Long Island resident

American Heart Associations Founders Board Member

Chair-Elect

 

Letter: Short Notice of Governor’s Meeting Is Unacceptable

Friday, 11 September 2009 00:00

Given the nature of the new H1N1 flu and given the degree of interest which 
the media has shown, your statewide initiative is important and welcomed.

Certainly the Town Hall concept is useful but needs to be planned, scheduled in advance and done at a time when the intended participants are available. Today all key decision makers for each school district are either running their districts’ just commenced new school year or involved in planned administrative meetings for the new school year commencing within days.

I would like to make a few brief points as to the areas the State needs to sharply improve upon, if we New Yorkers are to successfully meet this challenge.

First, the government (DOH, SED, County) needs to continually discuss H1N1 as part of an
 ongoing public health initiative. Examples: Previous initiatives on SARS, West Nile Virus, MRSA, other airborne and blood borne pathogens…all this within the last decade. Hardly ancient history, but seemingly forgotten to our multitasking constituents. Important because H1N1 may well have a different public health profile within weeks or days.

Second, communication Pathways. The current guidelines are hierarchical and non-interactive.
 What policy is advanced if the school districts report to the county and to the state but have neither indication nor assurance they will get information back in a timely (and useful) fashion? Getting the information back is essential because that is who and where the decision making has to occur. [Apparently one site is used to report, but this is password protected, so its merits, or lack thereof, are closeted.]

Third, rationalization of information. The information posted on websites is difficult to find, organized (being generous with the word “organized”) in a confusing fashion and scattered 
over different governmental agencies and, within the agencies, over different web pages. There needs to be “one-stop” shopping for New York and for each county. An examination of today’s state Internet information reflects the week by week development of H1N1 in 2009; the information now needs to be rethought, consolidated and centralized.

Fourth, the state needs to provide more frequent information in its updates and its message. Messages concerning the value of vaccinations, the specific nature of the H1N1 shots (one shot, two shots, three shots?) and the likely prospect of the new vaccines availability. Additionally there needs to be a thoughtful background as to what statistically happens to vulnerable populations even in the absence of the added factor of H1N1, as well as statistics of past years, (by state, by county, by month) in order to put into context the implications of new cases.

Fifth, rethink the local testing or reporting process. Certainly the laboratory resources are scarce but sometimes random testing will help local school officials determine if the one-third of the absent students are not there due to parental caution or due to the fact they have the flu. This then can be a valuable tool to determine how to protect the remaining two-thirds of the student in a given district.

Sixth. Roundtable Summit on LI; Come back again, but on a collaborative basis; I would be willing to convene LI health leaders to establish a roundtable and a summit so the decision makers in the schools, universities, hospitals, public health organizations (and others) can have an expectation as to the decision-making process, the information process and the communication process. This needs to be done in the next two to six weeks.

Kemp Hannon

6th Senate District

(Editor’s Note: This letter was originally sent to Health Commissioner Daines and Interim Commissioner Huxley and is printed here at the author’s request.) 

 

 

From Levittown Superintendent Dr. Herman Sirois

Friday, 04 September 2009 00:00

The start of a new school year brings new challenges and a sense of excitement to every member of the educational family in Levittown. It is a time for optimism, high energy and a commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of each child we have the responsibility to nurture, educate and support.

 

From Island Trees Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy

Friday, 04 September 2009 00:00

With the days growing shorter and the evenings a little cooler, this means only one thing—the start of another new school year is upon us. I wish to welcome everyone back for what I anticipate is going to be a great school year.

 

Letter: Educate Restaurant Consumers

Friday, 28 August 2009 00:00

The American Heart Association’s mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. One of the leading preventable causes of these diseases – the growing waistline of America! Being labeled as overweight or obese has disastrous effects on your cardiovascular health.

Heart disease and stroke remain the counties’, the states’, and unfortunately, the nation’s number one risk of death. Obesity directly results in dangerous conditions for your heart, including high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. By educating the restaurant consumer, Nassau County will empower its citizenry to make better choices and potentially encourage restaurants to reformulate offerings with healthier ingredients and more reasonable portion sizes.

Evidence abounds that menu labeling does not hurt the restaurant industry, but simply encourages consumers to make smarter decisions. Public reaction to the policy in New York City has been extremely positive, with 89 percent considering it a positive move.

On behalf of the American Heart Association, I look forward to this policy being approved by the County in September. We could all be heart-healthier because of it!

Susan Somerville, RN

Chairman, Long Island Board of Directors

American Heart Association

Nassau County Resident

 

 

From the Desk of Senator Kemp Hannon: August 28, 2009

Written by Senator Kemp Hannon Friday, 28 August 2009 00:00
Senator Notes New Ban on Texting While Driving

Senator Kemp Hannon announces adoption of legislation banning texting while driving. The New York State Senate recently passed a bill to make New York’s roads and highways safer by, among other provisions, banning the practice of texting and using other electronic devices while driving.

 

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