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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018 12:17 am

Letters to the Editor 11/22/18

 

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA

Ready or not, it’s Christmas! Stores have been stocking shelves for months. Television advertising is all ho-ho-ho. A local radio station is cranking out yuletide tunes 24/7. Many towns like Pawnee will welcome Santa before Thanksgiving. The Hallmark Channel has been all Christmas since late October. At the stroke of midnight on Dec. 26, it ends.

Wreaths Across America offers a mid-December, personal, meaningful respite from this insanity. The goal is to simultaneously lay a Christmas wreath on each grave in every national cemetery in the United States. Wreaths are made in Maine, arrive fresh and fragrant, and cost $15 each. At noon on Saturday, Dec. 15, more than 27,000 graves at Camp Butler will be waiting for a wreath. Volunteers are encouraged to address each veteran by name and thank them for their service. The pace is leisurely, the environment is serene and you’ll leave with a happy heart.

This is both an appeal to sponsor a wreath and an invitation to help lay them. For more information, visit http://WreathsAcrossAmerica.org. It’s the best $15 you’ll spend for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa and will put you in a true holy day mood.

Jennifer Ericson
Pawnee


NATIONALISM

While I appreciate Roy Wehrle’s service and experience, (“Why nationalism won’t work,” Illinois Times, Nov. 15), I think he left a lot out. The only way we can have a sensible foreign policy is to have a solid understanding of what our long-term interests are. We learned in Libya that our NATO allies could not shoot. They were tasked with the mission of taking down the local anti-aircraft facilities and, in the end, we not only had to resupply them, we had to send our own naval bombers to complete the task. Obama was mostly successful in getting NATO to spend the two percent of the individual national economies that treaty requires but practically, instead of increasing the utility of their military they increased the funding of their military retirement systems.

The United Nations and especially our involvement in the Near East must be rethought. Our closest friend there Israel is at 6’s and 7’s with all of their neighbors. It is our support for them and the fact that we overlook not one but two UN resolutions requiring them to return land acquired by aggressive, if necessary, war that makes us a target of the non-national terrorists groups.

If you dig a little deeper into that mess in the Near East, you discover that those private terrorists groups are often funded by Iranian money and that our ties with Saudi Arabia amount to an effort to counter Iranian involvement that drags us into ancient conflicts having little to do with the interests of a capitalist nation.

On top of all this, we are handicapped by a decision made in the early 90s to no longer support our own military interest by funding the armies needed to carry out a two-front global war. We are in competition with both Russia and China and others for the resources we need, and that fact makes it easy for them to triangulate us into what amounts to sputtering and ineffective action. Russia is rebuilding its empire. China is busy opening relations with the third world, loaning money right and left and likely to call in those loans by sequestering resources. The Chinese are also working hard at building the One Road which will connect them with the Near East and further entangle them in that mess.

If the United Nations is our best hope for rational solutions to world problems that body needs to have its own enforcement arm. The very reason no such arm exists is that none of the countries signed into that organization are willing to give up their own independent pursuit of their interests. Thus, nationalism or at least admitting that we should be defining what our interests are.

Matthew Vernau
Greenview

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