Letters to the editor
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The news that Osama bin Laden is dead is amazing news that transcends the often petty nature of our domestic politics. Just like in World War II, good has overcome evil.
A particular thanks must go out to all those who have worked so hard over the past 10 years to make bin Laden's death a reality. This is a great time for our country and for the world.
STEVEN M. CLAYTON
I watched Sunday night with interest as people lined the White House fence and sang songs marking the occasion where a band of military experts introduced Osama bin Laden to his 72 virgins. And the gaiety didn't stop there. A group of West Virginia University students burned a couch, a ritual usually reserved for when the Mountaineers go to the playoffs. Even Glenn Beck threw confetti and had a marching band on his set Monday.
All this frivolity causes me to think back to when people of various Muslim nations cheered and gave away candy when the twin towers fell. Do we hark back to the Old Testament days of an eye for an eye? It reminds me of the words of the Irish songwriter Tommy Sands who wrote "and another eye for another eye 'till all of us are blind."
So who calls the shots and gives the orders that cause men and women to get fitted for a suicide vest? It's people like bin Laden and Gadhafi and that little slime-bucket who is currently running Iran.
Today, most of me is sorry to see people being slaughtered in the name of peace. But there is still the combat medic inside of me who wants to throw confetti and raise a glass to remember the thousands who have been wounded and killed by terrorists.
And if you don't understand, then maybe it's because you haven't walked a mile in a pair of blood-stained jungle boots.
ROBERT J. PEGRITZ
Violence begets violence. It hasn't worked in the past and the death of Osama bin Laden will not change this fact.
Nevertheless, bin Laden's death brings closure for many people. It is a perfect time to now change our policy in Afghanistan and Iraq. We need to pull out our military troops and re-establish peaceful relations with the people -- everyone. If we truly want to minimize terror we need to show this region and the world that we will not try to dominate others and are really willing to engage all parties to negotiate peace.
Building schools and roads will go much further to reaching our goals and objectives -- as long as these are projects that the people in the country desire. The 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group (among others) agree that greater diplomacy, development and international cooperation are the critical tools that are most likely to address the threat of extremist terrorism.
We must all work to support these efforts and encourage our senators and representatives to do the same.
Return to reason
Tony Norman's May 3 column ("Obama's Sense of Timing Hits a New High") explains a lot about the rancor in this nation over the last nine years. We were so frustrated over 9/11 that we basically turned on ourselves. The rage in politics was a manifestation of our powerlesness to attain justice over the terrorists.
Perhaps with Osama bin Laden's death we will now deal with domestic and international issues at a more reasonable level. Perhaps the rent in the social fabric will begin to mend. Remember, bin Laden was the bad guy.
Rogers on target
With his May 3 cartoon limning the nation's preoccupation with the resolution of its Osama bin Laden problem, PG editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers once again demonstrates his right to the mantle of the country's pre-eminent political cartoonist.
Week after week Mr. Rogers' cartoons are included among the best of the week by Friday's USA Today, Sunday's New York Times and The Week magazine -- convincing testament of his status as a national treasure as well as Pittsburgh's very own.
Students who serve
As we concluded April, the month dedicated to honoring volunteers, I applaud the Post-Gazette for regularly sharing good news about people helping others. Such examples lift our spirits and motivate our own choices to make life better for our neighbors.
Students at our colleges and universities are often among those the PG has recognized for acting on behalf of those in need. In the spirit of teaching through their service, students also raise awareness of what life is like for their less fortunate brothers and sisters in the human family.
We have read of students sleeping with the homeless, testing water and air samples for contamination, and coaching young people to be advocates for justice.
Recently we read of Carlow University students walking barefoot for a day to call attention to children who have no shoes, and of Duquesne University students carrying water to remind us that not everyone has home delivery of clean water.
I honor those students who have taught us by their commitment to social justice, and I thank the Post-Gazette for telling their stories.
A wise choice
Sometime after being elected president of the Pittsburgh school board, I sent a long-overdue note of thanks to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl for appointing Dara Ware Allen to fill the unexpired term of Heather Arnet. Ms. Allen has stood the test of time.
As a young, African-American mother and competent professional, Ms. Allen brings a distinct perspective to the board. Her contribution to discussions and her strength of character have contributed to effective outcomes on many occasions. When Mayor Ravenstahl appointed Ms. Allen to the board, he positively affected the education of thousands of children and ultimately the city of Pittsburgh.
Wise choice, Mayor Ravenstahl, and thank you.
The writer represents District 6 on the school board. Dara Ware Allen is seeking nomination in District 2 in the primary.
Childish Trump is concerned only for himself, not the nation
When we were children in grade school, my friends and I used to make rude noises in class as a means of personal empowerment, of attracting attention to ourselves. Were we being immature? Absolutely. Disruptive? Without a doubt. Did our actions qualify us to become president of the United States? Donald Trump, who appears to be the GOP front-runner, seems to think so.
Last week, as a result of Mr. Trump's relentless badgering, President Barack Obama was obliged to release to the press his long-form Hawaiian birth certificate, hopefully settling once and for all the matter of his American birth.
Mr. Trump, with a self-satisfied leer, crowed to the press that he'd forced the president finally to publicly acknowledge the issue. In doing so, however, Mr. Trump revealed inadvertently that his concern all along was not the Constitution, the country or the law, but personal empowerment.
Some of us learn the rules of propriety, and some of us do not. At the age of 64, Donald Trump -- born of entitlement, scion of greed -- never has ... possibly because he's never needed to.
Any American who's been obliged to do more with less as a result of the Bush recession is better qualified, morally, for the presidency than a grown man who, in effect, cries "Wolf!" as a means of personal empowerment, or shouts "Fire!" in a crowded theater as a means of making powerful people jump to the sound of his voice.
Does Donald Trump deserve to be stood in a corner, like a disruptive child? Absolutely.
Does he deserve to become president of the United States? Never.
His next charade
How long until Donald Trump asks for bin Laden's "official" death certificate?
JEFFREY R. HOLST
First Published May 4, 2011 12:00 am