In Afghanistan: Gen. James Amos meets with Marines in Helmand province…
Sen. Boxer's vision
Re "It's time to get out," Opinion, May 27
It appears that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is confused. We went to war against the Taliban, which was the actual government of Afghanistan, not Al Qaeda. The Taliban allowed Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to exist within its borders. So while we may have one of those groups under control, we still need to defeat the Taliban.
The Taliban is one of the most oppressive and hateful governments that has ever existed. It is violently anti-West, misogynistic and homophobic, and it makes money from its international drug trade. Until the Taliban is completely wiped out, it is still dangerous.
It's embarrassing to have a U.S. senator express little understanding of why we went to Afghanistan and why the war is not yet over.
I am glad to see Boxer calling for an exit from Afghanistan. But regardless of the status of Bin Laden's pulse, we should have pulled out a long time ago. Such an enormous presence there has always been counterproductive. Attempting to "rebuild" that country has always been a fool's errand.
Boxer seems to understand this, but she still hedges her bets by suggesting we keep "only" 25,000 troops there to "finish the job." That's a political slogan, not a goal. The job is as finished as it's ever going to be.
Boxer states that now is the time to reduce our troop presence in Afghanistan and to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
The fact is, if we do not leave, we will have helped to fulfill Bin Laden's plan to defeat the United States by bleeding it financially and causing economic ruin to our country.
When health and religion collide
Re "Circumcision decisions," Editorial, May 28
If any of the claims on the potential health benefits of circumcision carried weight, then we would see these health benefits gained by the U.S. and other circumcision-happy cultures. Much of Western Europe, Latin America and Asia no longer practices this barbaric tradition.
If it prevents diseases, then why do people still get HIV? The arguments for circumcision are incredibly vague, and if the religions that want to mutilate their sons insist on continuing this practice, let them go to the Middle East to have the operation done. Circumcision is as necessary as getting a tattoo.
If circumcision is considered mutilation, perhaps we should also consider the hardware that is applied to various parts of the anatomy in addition to earlobes. I would consider inserting nails, pins or rings into eyelids, eyebrows, noses, tongues, lips, nipples, belly buttons and genitalia more mutilating.
Then we have to consider the ugly tattoos, particularly the large ones that cover portions of the largest organ of our body, as mutilating the skin. If that is considered art by some people, it belongs on an easel, then framed and hanging on a wall, or covering the side of a barn or wall as graffiti, but not on the body.
Working with the ICC works
Re "Contempt of court," Opinion, May 26
Marine Lt. Col. Butch Bracknell correctly argues that joining the International Criminal Court is in the best interests of the U.S. diplomatically. In many parts of the world, the ICC is seen as the only real opportunity for justice to overcome impunity for national and political leaders who are complicit in atrocities, usually against their own citizens.
U.S. support for the ICC would help diplomatically, and it would also align the U.S. with our NATO allies on the side of the rule of law applied equally to national or political leaders for atrocity crimes.
It is another resource for international justice, stronger than sanctions but not as costly as the use of military force.
The U.S. must find ways to work more fully with the ICC.
The writer is treasurer of the International Criminal Court Alliance.
"Before the court asserts jurisdiction over a citizen, the ICC prosecutor must determine and substantiate that the citizen's country is operating with impunity or that its judicial processes are broken or powerless."
Isn't that exactly what happens when the U.S. Supreme Court abdicates its responsibilities by allowing the government to quash lawsuits without any examination of merit or facts based on incontestable claims of "national security"?
When Palin speaks, watch out
Re "Palin's bus tour starts on two wheels," May 30
Sarah Palin says, "I love that smell of the emissions!" That one statement speaks to many.
It speaks to the many Americans who suffer from lung disease, to Americans who love their spacious, clear blue skies and to our children and grandchildren's future environment. Mostly, it speaks of her love for Big Oil.
Her verbal emission ruined my morning read.
Note to the "lamestream media": Sarah Palin is not running for president. She just wants you to pay attention to her. Stop it.