Steve Chittock

Bush era's pre-emptive violence brought shame, isolation to U.S.

I'm writing this in response to the letter from George Pantell ("U.S. has elected partisan with no record of accomplishment," Jan. 29). I find in his letter all the values that I have come to expect from a very vocal and fairly large segment of America, values that seem to focus on military strength, morality in sexual conduct, and overarching all a belief in personal responsibility, which could be defined as "keep your own house in order, and make sure your neighbor does too."

Personal responsibility is behind the idea that taxes should be limited as well as that there should be laws to regulate our sexual behavior.

I come to this argument as a "reformed" conservative who still believes in personal responsibility, but with an important difference. As my life has become more informed by my belief in God as revealed in Christ, I have come to believe that my first responsibility is to God as found in my neighbor. This changes everything for me, beginning with my position on the use of violence.

Some people are essentially saying that torture and pre-emptive violence as practiced by the Bush administration are our best means of protection against those who use violence against us. All this policy has accomplished is to create ever more enemies, isolate us from potential allies, and bring shame upon the very name of America. What makes you think that killing some of their leaders is going to make them quit any more than it would if they had killed Mr. Bush when he began his policy of "War on Terror"?

I don't expect you to like our new president, but criticize his new policies and appointments, don't rehash all the fears you seem to be stuck with. I'm not thrilled with such choices as sending Holbrooke to Afghanistan, and I can only hope he has good reasons I don't know about. Let's talk about what we can do now - and try to keep the "fear talk" to a minimum - if you weren't afraid under President Bush you were living in a very different world than mine. Mr. Bush's policies may have kept "them" from blowing up New York, but the damage those policies have done to our nation is unacceptable.

I believe that pursuing peace and justice is not incompatible with national security.

Mike Tompkins

Crescent City

Watchdogs pose no threat if there is no cop misconduct

In response to the Jan. 27 letter, "Watchdogs are not helping community by slurring police," you do no have to be elected, commissioned or whatever to be a watchdog, you just have to be fed up with misconduct from our governing officials.

Watchdog groups are all over the country, with more starting every day. We are people who are tired of misbehavior. We do report misconduct to the ones in charge and nothing is happening from within the ranks to stop the bad behavior. Actually, within the blue code of silence they protect and cover for each other's misconduct.

No one has to say we can or cannot protest misconduct, it is our civil right to do so. When cops continue to use brutal force once the person is in custody, then the cop becomes the criminal. When his partner does not report the misbehavior then the partner becomes a criminal also.

The government has made it so we cannot see an officer's file to see his complaint records; we should be able to see this information. They are our employees, paid by taxpayers. After we receive several reports about an officer's misconduct, which we have, we will ask for those who have received the misbehavior to inform the group, and then we can build our own file. That seems fair.

As we have said before if there were no problems there would be no worries about the group seeing, or hearing, something bad happening; people would welcome public oversight. Moreover, from the response we get from the citizens in this county, our oversight is welcome here. Most of our response has been, why it has taken so long to get a group like this started?

After we put the ad in the paper, calls came in as soon as the paper hit the stand. People are thanking us for our courage in this endeavor. We have received donations for a Web page, and more ads in the paper.

Evidence is coming in daily concerning Drug Task Force misconduct, selling drugs to minors and then busting them, stealing jewelry from the deceased, hog-tying a woman having convulsions. What are we to do, look away? That has been happening, and that is why this problem has become so dangerously ugly.

Lenda Beck

Community Watchdogs

Crescent City