When will our government decide it is way past time to get out of Afghanistan?

At this point in time we have lost over 1,136 men and women. There has been 6,469 injured and we have spent almost $300 billion. This has been the longest war the United States has experienced in history — eight years and eight months.

We cannot win the war in Afghanistan. We originally went to war to capture Osama bin Laden. We now know that he is not in the caves, nor are any other terrorists.

President Hamid Karzai wants to make a peace agreement with the Taliban. This should be enough of a reason for us to exit Afghanistan.

Russia had it right. After 14 years of occupation, they realized they were treading water and it was time to get out. How many more years do we plan on spending our treasury down and to continue the great loss of life, before we realize we have made a great mistake?

It is a fact that 90 percent of Afghanistan’s heroin production is sold to Iran for approximately $2.8 billion a year. Also, we are told that “the terrorists are coming!” Doesn’t that sound like “the Russians are coming” during the Cold War?

Thank you, Rep. Chellie Pingree, for your stand against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

J. Robert Chasser

Wells

Congress has for some time spent and is now spending more for military research and development than on clean energy R&D. With two wars already in progress, we’re planning for another.

Persuaded by representatives of the coal and oil corporations, they hesitate to reduce our dependence on fuels which are damaging our present and future environment.

Are we to be permanently at war? Are we never to have non-contaminating energy?

The one thing in which we are the undisputed world leader is our military expenditure, as much as the four next countries, including Russia and China, combined. Military solutions to the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan have worked very slowly and with terrible damage to civilians.

Democracy will not work in Iraq until Shiite, Sunni and Kurd respect each other’s rights. Military power cannot effect that end.

Much the same is true in Afghanistan. Until the Taliban and tribal leaders can learn to talk amicably to the Karzai government, there will be little chance for peace. Killing some Taliban will not change minds of those remaining. Only talking will.

Rep. Chellie Pingree did just right in voting not to spend more money for military action in Afghanistan. Our senators would do well to consider the damage done to our country’s economy by the bloated military budget.

Charles Brown

Bath

Absurd Supreme Court ruling should go to extreme

The Supreme Court has handed down some incredible decisions of late, but now they have outdone themselves. I refer to their recent unique interpretation of the Second Amendment extending the right to bear arms to all citizens.

The Constitution was written originally to address the need of a new nation formed in a very different environment than exists today in a modern world. This document clearly and narrowly defined the “right to bear arms by a well-regulated militia.”

The latest ruling by the Supreme Court mandates that the entire nation become a “well-regulated militia.”

But since many us can’t afford to buy the guns necessary for compliance, there must be a federal subsidy established so we will all have the equal opportunity to exercise our right for protection.

I would suggest that senior citizens and those with impaired vision or poor eye to hand coordination be supplied with automatic weapons to compensate for their handicaps.

Any unwelcome visitors should be cautious in knocking on our doors in the future as peepholes in doors are converted into gun portals.

There will definitely be advantages to this latest law of the land. As we citizens eliminate crime with our newly-acquired weapons, we will be able to decrease the size of our police forces and downsize our penal institutions resulting in a drastic reduction in our tax base.

A well-armed population may also go a long way to “solving” profiling and illegal immigration problems.

On the negative side, our health care system will be overwhelmed by an increase in gunshot wounds and mortality rates will reflect the consequences of the escalated activity of our “well-regulated militia.”

One can only wonder about the caliber of our Supreme Court justices, or should they be judged by the caliber of their weaponry?

Phyllis Kamin

Cumberland

July 4 Dennis Dechaine story badly misplayed

Last Sunday was Independence Day — why on Earth would you have a convicted murderer on the front page and three more pages about him on this day?

The front page should have articles about the men and women fighting and keeping our independence, not some murderer! I wish we hadn’t bought the paper this morning — not a good start for the day.

Wanda Chaisson

Jackman

I would like to register a formal complaint about your choice of front page “news” in the July 4 Maine Sunday Telegram.

As a veteran of World War II, I feel you have shown great disrespect for the men and women now serving, on this, our nation’s birthday.

With the many troubles in the world today you do no good or prove anything by headlining a 20-year-old murder story when we are celebrating our wonderful country’s history.

Save your gory story for some other edition!

Jean M. Thronquist

Portland

Gulf oil spill should inspire a much saner energy policy

With the latest oil spill currently happening in the Gulf of Mexico, I feel the general public would agree with me that the risks of deep-water oil drilling far outweigh the benefits. Daniel Chang wrote in his article “Gushing oil hits record-setting proportion” (July 2):

“With oil giant BP’s runaway well Thursday becoming the biggest spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico, according to government estimates, rough seas and winds from Tropical Storm Alex continued to ground skimming and booming operations from the Mississippi Delta to Florida’s Panhandle, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.”

This information is disturbing.

BP has not announced how they plan to stop the oil leak permanently, so if the oil continues to flow into the Gulf at this alarming rate, it will not only be the largest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but it will become the worst oil spill anywhere, eclipsing the 1991 Persian Gulf oil spill, which put 240 million gallons of oil into the ocean near Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

In the end, millions of dollars will be spent on the cleanup effort and millions of potential revenue will be lost.

Is all this really worth it?

Do we want to go through this again in five or 10 years?

Do we want BP and other oil companies to be able to lobby to get lenient regulations so they can make more and more money at the expense of their workers, the environment and every person and living creature who make their home in or near the ocean?

Please write to President Obama and Congress and demand tighter regulations for deep-water oil drilling before more lives are ruined as a result and urge them to look in a new direction to find other means of energy for a healthier and safer planet.

Sharon Gilley

Bucksport