February 9, 2013

Letters to the editor: GOP 'attack dogs' set sights on Hagel

The nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense is being derailed by the Republican far right because he isn’t parroting their agenda for the Pentagon, a reader says.

(Continued from page 1)

However, if done right, we could have the security needed and even enhance the school atmosphere. I suggest retired civilian and military police officers be used, but we handle things just a little bit differently.

Such men and women, being retired, would be older. If they were dressed in slacks and sweaters, carrying concealed weapons, perhaps using Air Marshal ammunition, interacting with the students every day while they walk the halls, they'd more resemble grandparents than guards.

Their interactions with the students would make them just another fun part of the school day.

These retired officers would already have all the necessary training I don't have. They would, of course, be thoroughly vetted, and working in concert with school administrators and teachers, they could provide the security our children deserve without the trauma. Such people would also probably appreciate augmenting their pensions.

Speaking as a grandfather to a Maine K-12 student, I don't think children would ever fear a grandparent, but a bad guy with a gun damned well better.

Jack Buckley

Durham

Perceptions of Al Jazeera stray far from the facts

I found Time Warner Cable's recent decision to immediately drop Current TV from their broadcast list following Current's sale to Al Jazeera pathetic but not surprising ("Many Mainers may not get Al Jazeera," Jan. 3).

TWC is either ignorant or just pandering. They must not know that while Al Jazeera is hosted by Qatar, a conservative Islamic country, Qatar also hosts U.S. Central Command, the largest and most important U.S. military command/control and intelligence-gathering facility in that region.

In other words, if the emir of Qatar hates America, he has a funny way of showing it.

There is no mystery as to why Al Jazeera has become so relevant in the last decade. Major Western news agencies have declined remarkably, reeling from entertaining to affirming but missing out on informing.

Al Jazeera has stepped into the void they left behind to the point where many in the Arab world credit the public's access to Al Jazeera as the main reason why the Arab Spring has been such an unbelievable game-changer in that region.

Ironically, domestic opposition to Al Jazeera is usually the strongest from people who are adherents of the nationalist perspective at Fox News.

For those who don't know, Fox News is a division of News Corp., whose minority owner is a Saudi Arabian prince. Yes, the same Saudi Arabia that gave the world Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.

News Corp.'s principal owner is Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch is married to an ambitious woman named Wendi Deng Murdoch. Mrs. Murdoch is an accomplished businesswoman on her own, helping to steer billions of her aged husband's media investments into her native country: communist China.

Islamists and communists and Fox? Oh my!

So why should we be scared of Al Jazeera? Answer: We shouldn't.

Jeremy Smith

Old Orchard Beach

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