Letters to the Editor

Sunday letters to the editor

Civilian trial backers missing the point

In "Graham vs. civilian terror trials," Feb. 2, attorney Laura Olson opposes Sen. Lindsey Graham's views on terrorist trials, writing that "The federal courts have proven themselves tougher and more reliable (than military tribunals) in trying terrorism suspects." She concludes from this that we should extend the rights afforded to U.S. citizens to terrorists and try them in civilian courts.

She misses the main point. If our military tribunals are not functioning effectively and doing their job properly, we need to fix them. We do not solve that problem by transferring terrorists to the civilian system and extending to them the right to keep silent, the right to attorney counsel at our expense and, if convicted, the possibility of being housed, clothed and fed, also at our expense. Further, it raises the possibility of divulging information about U.S. tactics and strategies to our enemies so that they can be more successful in their next attempt to kill us.

It appears many well-meaning Americans are determined to be politically correct or die trying. I fear they may succeed and take many of us with them.

KENNETH SIEGFRIED

Lexington

Missionaries in Haiti deserve support

I want to express my support for the Idaho missionary group that was recently arrested in Haiti for trying to transport orphans to the Dominican Republic to start an orphanage. I was in Haiti recently assisting in medical relief, and crossed that same border about two days prior to this group. Having an acute knowledge of the actual situation in Haiti, I believe these missionaries were totally legitimate and right in what they were attempting to do, and do not deserve to be vilified for it.

The Haitian government has been a corrupt shell for a long time prior to this earthquake, and it is only worse now. My suspicion is that the only reason they were arrested in the first place is that they would not bribe the border guards as the officials are accustomed to. Now the government is trying to legitimize itself by pretending to care about the orphans it has ignored for so long.

In Haiti, many parents drop their kids off at orphanages because they cannot care for the children themselves and desire a better life for them. I saw in multiple missionary orphanages that the quality of life for orphans is far superior to what they would otherwise have. So while it may be technically true that some of these orphans with the mission group have living parents, in all likelihood they were placed there intentionally.

CASEY McMILLAN, M.D.

Columbia

U.S. giving up space leadership

President Barack Obama is canceling the Constellation space program endorsed by President George W. Bush after the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster. A whole generation of American youth will be steered away from looking up to the stars. Countries such as China, Russia and Iran will develop a space program to send people to the moon. The United States will be seen as a nation that no longer can afford to be a leader in the world for technology or innovation. Technology takes time to develop, and we develop new technology to solve problems creatively.

On July 20, 1969, I watched as American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon, announcing to the world, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

President Obama is not giving American industry the chance to start again. American science advancement will no longer ring throughout the world as we step backward into the past and not the future..

The president should not let budget problems destroy NASA, which is a symbol of American genius in space.

JEWEL C. HOWERS

Lexington

Hard realities of welfare system

I know that I am not the only one who gets tired of the bleeding-heart liberals who want to complain about Andre Bauer's comment. Let's get real: He did not say to withhold support to children or anything of the sort. The American people cannot continue to support those who are able but unwilling to get a job. We have reduced the numbers of people who have abused the welfare system, but we must do more. We must hold those people who are on welfare accountable, and if they can't go to school meetings with their kids while getting a subsidy, then we must ask ourselves is that the environment for the children to live in?

It's never a good time to discuss hard decisions, but we must protect the elderly and the children and hold those accountable who are able to get a job and not a handout.

STEVEN J. FOLLMANN

Chapin

Clyburn's nonsense cure for recession ills

Rep. Jim Clyburn's recent assertion that we have to "spend our way out of a recession" is the same kind of twisted logic that got us where we are today. I think Clyburn's exalted position has gone to his already swelled head. He's clearly unqualified to be a congressman; it's time for him to step down and let South Carolina find someone qualified to fill his place in Congress before he helps drag the country over the cliff.

R.S. HODNETT

Columbia

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