Letters to the Editor
USE CIVILIANS TO DO CIVILIAN JOBS ON BASE
If we need a bigger Army in the collective judgment of our elected leaders and our generals and officers, I'm all for it. However, until we better use the soldiers we have, it's not a slam dunk decision in my book.
Take for example the use of active-duty personnel at Schofield Barracks. Taxpayers are paying active-duty soldiers to clean the bathrooms and to staff the gear-issue desk at the athletic center. Taxpayers are paying active-duty guys to cut the lawn on base. In the case of the gym, what exacerbates the issue is the number of civilians on the recreation staff who are standing around smoking and joking in the very same room as the active-duty guys cleaning the bathrooms.
Two senior enlisted guys and one officer told me that it's a big hit on morale for their men. I was also told this is part of their "good citizen" duty. That's not what I pay tax dollars for, and I don't see it elsewhere in the services. As a taxpayer, who is being asked to contribute to billions spent on more troops, it just doesn't make sense to me.
If the Army doesn't need these young men's time for deployment, equipment readiness, training, or upward mobility applications (e.g., college courses and other self-improvement concepts), then I would prefer they be given the day off as R&R instead of doing what civilians are paid to do.
These soldiers are warriors, not janitors, gardeners and night watchmen. Use the Army to do what civilians can't do, and use civilians to do the rest.Edward R. Appleby
DAVE SHAPIRO'S VISION CLOUDED ON ALA MOANA
Dave Shapiro's disdain for Mayor Mufi Hannemann and mass transit are clouding his vision.
Shapiro didn't read The Advertiser's lead story last Sunday, "State missteps worsen homeless crisis," which blames Hawai'i's homeless crisis on the state, which raided more than $200 million from housing funds over the past decade.
Contrary to Shapiro's rant, the city did notify the state before we announced in March that we would close Ala Moana Park nightly. More lead time might have helped, but there's never a good time to end something that has festered for years. By March, complaints from city-park users and workers about the homeless were commonplace.
The state did little more than hold conferences and conduct studies. Yet Shapiro regurgitates Gov. Linda Lingle's unsubstantiated claim that state efforts to help the homeless were under way. Perhaps they were referring to the housing- fund raids.
The city has spent more than $39 million over six years to help people who are experiencing homelessness. The Department of Community Services staff, led by Director Debbie Morikawa, seeks opportunities to help. They deserve more than Shapiro's contempt.
Our Ala Moana cleanup drew a chorus of thanks and encouragement from the public. Even Bob Nakata, a leading advocate for the homeless, acknowledged it was the catalyst for the state to provide a shelter.
Yet Shapiro faults us (and the ACLU) for a lack of contrition. He's evidently frustrated by his failure — and that of former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who oversaw most of the housing-fund raids — to thwart mass transit for O'ahu.
Give Dave an Advertiser subscription. If he won't read it, at least he can use it to clean up the shibai he's shoveling.Jeff Coelho
Executive adviser to Mayor Mufi Hannemann
SCHOOLS SHOULD OFFER MORE VEGETARIAN FOOD
As a sophmore in high school, I have been going to public schools on O'ahu my entire life. I have never really questioned the school lunches, for which the Department of Education makes guidelines, until recently.
I am a vegetarian who doesn't want to support the meat industry, which exploits 40 billion animals a year. Why can't public schools support that?
My school, as well as others, does have salad. But would you like to nibble on bland lettuce your entire school year? Hawai'i has a diverse student population. Some enjoy eating dead animals, and some choose not to.
So why are we depriving the vegetarian students, as well as the meat-eating students, of healthy and wholesome vegetarian food?Alvin Park
VOTERS NOW GETTING JUST WHAT THEY DESERVE
For all those homeowners whining about their new property tax assessment — deal with it.
It's what you get for re-electing the same gang year after year.
It's what you deserve for tolerating the same behavior from your politicians, year after year.
For those who didn't vote — shut up already, your voice doesn't count.Jonathan Hunter
What about the true heroes serving in Iraq?
I hope you rest well after promoting a true coward ("Watada: to some a hero, others a coward," Dec. 20).
What about the true heroes, the men and women in Iraq who can't be home because they chose to support their country and do their duty?
There should be an opportunity to present an opposing view. I'm confident that there are reporters who are capable of presenting the majority's view.
Why don't you conduct a poll, to be more realistic, about how many consider Watada a hero and how many consider him a coward?
To write an article supported from a selected group, family and friends, denotes nothing more than total bias.Steve Good
U. S. Navy, retired 'Ewa Beach
REFUSING TO SERVE IS THE ISSUE, NOT THE WAR
It is apparent that more than 350 misguided people just are not getting the message. Lt. Ehren Watada asks, "Why are we focusing on me and the personal issue?"
Well, that is just the issue. He and his refusal to obey orders in deploying with the men with whom he trained are the issues. The issue is not about an illegal war, as he has stated on many occasions. Many of us wonder how he has reached a decision that the war is an illegal one.
When he raised his right arm and accepted a commission as an officer of the U.S. Army, he became subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and accepted certain privileges as well as responsibilities. It is obvious that he has not or is not carrying out his responsibilities as the forthcoming court-martial will find.
Lt. Watada and his supporters are attempting to cloud the issue by emphasizing repeatedly the war issue rather than a refusal to obey orders.
He may be a hero to the misguided few, but to most of us he is a coward for not serving his country after accepting a commission in the U.S. Army, a very responsible and honorable position.Howard S. Okada
ACTION BETRAYED U.S. DURING A TIME OF WAR
At the Dec. 19 Church of the Crossroads session, Advertiser staff writer Rod Ohira quotes Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada asking: "Why are we focusing on me and the personal issue?"
Because, lieutenant, in deliberately missing movement and acting with conduct unbecoming an officer, you betrayed your country in time of war.
In setting himself up as both judge and jury to adjudicate the "legality" of the campaign in Iraq, Lt. Watada presumes to set himself above his fellow citizens who elected and then re-elected the commander-in-chief now prosecuting this war on terror. Unlike our twice-elected president who is upholding his oath of office in difficult times, Lt. Watada shows abject contempt not only for the oath he volunteered to take, but for his fellow countrymen, whom he now grandly presumes to instruct on matters of morality.
Whether or not the members of your general court-martial sentence you to the stockade, the Army is well shed of you.Thomas E. Stuart
Retired lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy Kapa'au, Big Island