Sen. Angus King stated during the Senate Budget Committee hearing in July that he fears “gutting the military budget” while trying to find budget savings.

But facts show that there are many military programs that can be safely eliminated.

To name just one such program, the B-61 Life Extension Program, or LEP, has a current estimated cost of $10 billion (up from $4 billion in 2010).

If this program continues to go forward, it will end up costing more than its weight in gold at $28 million for each weapon.

The LEP is meant to extend the life of the B-61 nuclear weapon for decades, which contradicts U.S. nuclear policy and international treaty agreements.

Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright stated the B-61 in Europe has no military role in the U.S. or allied security.

Cutting this program would save between $5 billion and $10 billion over a 10-year period. I’m reminding Sen. King that Maine has a well-deserved reputation: “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

I’m asking our Maine senator to take the lead and declare that the military budget can be cut in specific areas with no unreasonable risk to U.S. security.

Sally A. Breen

Windham

Remember their ultimate sacrifices on Veterans Day

Veterans Day is here, and, of course, the usual, what I like to call platitudes, via speeches and parades, will, as usual, be less and less even though we are churning out more and more of our national treasure to fight in, in my opinion only, other countries’ battles who, again in my opinion, don’t and can’t ever wreak havoc on our great country.

That being said, on this hallowed day I always remember all my friends and others who have gone before us, not just from World War I, World War II , Korea, Vietnam and now Afghanistan. That’s what Veteran’s Day means to me. Not the living vets, including me, but those that have given the ultimate price defending America. Yes, I know many disabled living veterans suffering the ravages of war, but that, to this old veteran, is a different venue.

So on this Veteran’s Day, if you haven’t, try to visit one of our cemeteries and thank our buried heroes … and remember that, if not for their bravery, America would not be the greatest country around.

This does not, of course, forget all our young potential future heroes who at a future date may join all those killed in action and missing in action who should never be forgotten, not just on Nov. 11, but forever.

Frank Slason

Somerville

Tar sands oil foes should take heart over outcome

Congratulations to all those who worked so hard to keep tar sands oil out of the city of South Portland! For you won.

Be assured, you won!

Yes, the ordinance itself failed to pass. It came close, to be sure, the unofficial tally being 4,453 against passage and 4,361 for it. But this narrow rejection (a difference of 192 votes, or about 2.2 percent of the total cast) of an admittedly complex zoning ordinance does not equate with an acceptance of tar sands oil.

On the contrary, it is clear – from conversations during canvassing, from editorial opinions in the newspapers (such as the Portland Press Herald), from the whole tenor and tone of the contest – that though a majority of South Portlanders reject the WPO, a majority of that majority want no part of tar sands oil either. And that is a victory!

It is thanks to the tireless efforts of that host of dedicated volunteers who worked for the passage of the Waterfront Protection Ordinance that most South Portlanders now realize:

If tar sands oil ever got into Sebago Lake, it would poison the drinking water;

If tar sands oil ever got into Casco Bay, it would decimate the fishing, recreation and tourism industries;

If the stacks “offgassing” the benzene and other toxic chemicals used to dilute and pipe tar sands oil ever got built off Bug Light, it would poison the air.

And if tar sands oil continues to flow from out of the boreal forest of Canada, it will deal an egregious blow to Earth’s climate.

Given the consciousness-raising brought about by the citizens of South Portland, is it now likely – is it even possible – that tar sands oil will ever be piped through the state of Maine? I, for one, seriously doubt it.

Lee Chisholm

Freeport

Frank’s view on Pentagon spending right on target

Thank you for letting Barney Frank bring some light, and candor, to the Pentagon’s profligate spending.

Would that the United States would close some bases, bring more troops home and let our European allies pay for their own defense.

Let them use their tax dollars rather than ours to keep their enemies at bay. Isn’t it time to allow the European Union to stand on its own?

I hope so. We need precious tax money here, not there – wherever there might be.

William R. Laidley

South Portland

I read with interest the column by Barney Frank in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

I am glad that he cleared the air regarding what the military was going to do if we did exempt them from budget cuts – namely “find other missions around the world.”

I think the military needs to realize that we do need to take monies saved, if we are no longer fighting two wars, and rebuild our own country – mainly domestic programs such as Medicare, Social Security, infrastructure and maybe defending our own shores instead of everyone else’s.

If they need a “mission,” I think they should consider patrolling our own streets and helping to get rid of the gangs we are being plagued with. A “mission at home” makes better sense to me.

Fran Palmer

Scarborough