Letters to the Editor
> We know the real reason US sends troops to fight ISIS
To the Editor:
I’ve always liked Michael Cleveland’s column, and would normally not think of challenging anything he wrote there because 1) he writes well and I like his chatty style, and 2) his hair is the same color as mine (if I can believe a black and white photo), and I think of him as a wise contemporary.
A couple of weeks ago, though, his chatty style strayed over the line for me into the confused land of what I call, "How to deal with ISIS."
Michael (dare I call him Mike?) went all in right at the beginning of the column by elevating (or lowering) ISIS to the level of Hitler and Nazi Germany and how they should have been dealt with in 1933. This seems to suggest that if the U.S. doesn’t get in there yet again and put guns in hands and boots on the ground that ISIS will flower (or rot) into something similar to a Fourth Reich.
This completely ignores the fact that the U.S. has been fighting Islamic extremism in its various varieties, in various ways, for over 30 years, and we have yet to win. A defeated nation or want-to-be state doesn’t come back worse than before in a different place with similar players. The reason why radical or extremist or misguided Islamists hate us so much can be boiled down to: because we’re over there in their streets, houses and backyards, and we don’t belong there. They don’t need us, and we only need their oil. Saudi oil, Iraqi oil, Syrian oil, Kuwaiti oil.
Remember the American Indian? They didn’t need us, either, and we only wanted their land. We didn’t care about their culture; we wanted to assimilate them and make them like us.
Similar situation, but al-Qaida and ISIS have more effective tactics. They want the United States over where they live. It’s a great recruiting tool for young Middle Easterners with no life, no girlfriend and no money, and ISIS offers them all these things. How do they get us over there? By committing hideous acts of brutality that outrage and scare our citizens. When we respond, they win or get what they want: more bodies to strap explosives to and more foot soldiers.
This is not the job of the United States. We are not or should not be the world’s sheriff. We have been fighting an eternal enemy which has no physical infrastructure, and when we determine that we have beaten that enemy, it pops up elsewhere more brutal and scary than before.
Think Afghanistan to Syria and wherever else ISIS has found an audience waiting to be ruled with a different iron hand than they were ruled with before. Taliban begat al-Qaida, which begat ISIS, which immediately upstaged them.
Why is this not the job of the United States? Because we are giving our blood and wealth to a fight that could be fought by the countries in the region who have much more to lose from ISIS than the U.S. does and who have the wealth and armies to do it. Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria (I’m leaving out the second-strongest in the region, Israel, because I doubt that an Arab-Israeli coalition would last long), the top five largest armies in the Middle East together could field an army of over 1.6 million troops. This against ISIS forces estimated at 50,000 in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq who use light vehicles such as buses, pickup trucks and motor bikes to be mobile?
I’ll add one more note to the war for the Greater Middle East that may sound conspiratorial until you look into it: Follow the money printed and spent to fund this never-ending war and you’ll find out who is behind the call to arms.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike Cleveland responds, "Mr. Brady makes some excellent points, but I detest the phrase ‘boots on the ground’ because it presupposes that only shaped leather, not human beings, is in jeopardy."
Excavation warrant article harms natural resources
To the Editor:
What the Brox Natural Resources Inventory expert ecologist, Dr. Kevin Ryan, presented on Dec. 1 to the town is this:
"Ideally, I think it would be great, I’d like to see the whole entire property conserved.
"If development does need to occur," he said, "concentrate development within the sand pit."
Dr. Ryan then listed the essentials:
"Gain understanding of species’ use of the site … (conduct) meander surveys, telemetry … let some sand pit area remain (for) bank swallows (and) turtle nesting … implement low-impact development, put remaining land under conservation easement."
Dr. Ryan clearly does not advocate for excavation and leveling of forested hills at Brox. People in leadership roles in Milford ought not to be misrepresenting Dr. Ryan’s intention.
The Brox Warrant Article (No. 23) for excavating Brox is highly destructive of natural resources, including habitat of endangered Blanding’s turtles, Eastern hognose snakes and threatened spotted turtles. However, BOS Chair Mark Fougere has said definitively "no" to studying the rare, threatened and endangered species before development.
We can help species, not hurt them, by opposing the excavation warrant article. A "thank you" goes out to the conservation commission for having voted against this warrant article. Now it is time to remain strong against any mining operation in a place Dr. Ryan calls "an ecological gem."
Brox Environmental Citizens
Thank you for clothing drive help
To the Editor:
The Milford Middle School PTO and the Student Advisory Council would like to thank the parents and community of Milford for making this year’s 14th annual Winter Clothing Drive a success. We collected over 500 items of winter clothing, both new and gently used.
A special thank you to Taylor Austin’s grandmother Joyce Austin, who hand knit 45 hats! Another thank you goes to True Blue Cleaners, which volunteered to launder some of the clothing that needed to be freshened up before turning it over to Share.
The following classrooms were the grade winners with the most clothing brought in: Mrs. Danhof (Grade 6), Mrs. Dobson (Grade 7) and Ms. Blake (Grade 8).
All clothing was turned over to the Milford Share program.
MMS PTO, Jeanne Rocca, Beth Fields
MMS Student Advisory Council, Nicole Barry
On the Swing Bridge rejection
I read with interest your article "Preservation group says no to bridge," (Sunday, Oct. 24) concerning Milford’s pedestrian bridge over the Souhegan River.
In defense of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s decision to choose other endangered sites for its Seven to Save list, the alliance must pick and select nominees based not only on the historic value of a nominee, but also on the likelihood of success.
Considering the latter, Milford’s track record comes up wanting. Several historic sites were lost without opposition recently. The first to go was the former Pine Valley School, also known as Santos Dumont Coffeehouse. It was razed for a franchise doughnut shop parking lot.
The second to go was the old Jones Crossing or "green" bridge. A nearby iron water tank went, too. And now the Swing Bridge is in a state of decay.
Milford should consider building a new pedestrian bridge instead. Keene built an elegant cable-stayed bridge in its Ashuelot River Park. Claremont built a beautiful steel tubular bridge in its mill district rather than re-use two historic bridges nearby.
Disassemble the Swing Bridge. Number the parts then crate, and store them. Offer it for sale on eBay. In Vermont there are people willing to pay for such things. It would look splendid in a Green Mountain city public park or a gated community or a golf course. And Milford would have an attractive new pedestrian crossing.