December 1, 2012

Letters to the editor: Israel now faced with Arab democracy

In re: "Egypt leader grants himself far-reaching powers" (Nov. 23):

Mohammed Morsi
click image to enlarge

With Mohammed Morsi as president, “popular will is now forged into a democratic instrument” in Egypt, presenting a challenge to Israel, a reader says.

2012 File Photo/The Associated Press

Michael Birnbaum and The Washington Post are seeing something they have not seen before: unchecked democracy in an Arab state.

Popularly elected President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt has finally swept out deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak's judiciary.

What kind of judges does a dictator keep around? The world was wondering how long the timid-seeming Morsi would accept their rear-guard actions: acquittals, non-prosecutions (the prosecutor is part of the judiciary in Egypt) and the canceling of the parliamentary election that filled the Parliament with Islamists.

What this means is that Israel as the half-democracy (non-Jews are out of luck in the Jewish state, unsurprisingly) is now facing a massive Arab state where popular will is now forged into a democratic instrument.

On Nov. 23 , a crowd of Gazans pushed against the Israeli fence until live fire killed one and wounded 19. Imagine 80 million Egyptians marching on Israel. Michael Birnbaum and The Washington Post are. What does the Press Herald think?

Christopher Rushlau

Portland

GOP security cuts in Libya should be focus of questions

After reading William Goff's letter Nov. 15, "Apparent Libya coverup may be tied to election," I became curious regarding his questions to President Obama, beginning with his first question:

"Why wasn't our (Benghazi) consulate protected by better security on the anniversary of 9/11 (especially since it had been attacked many times leading up to this date)?"

Information indicates that cuts in security funding for embassies came from Republicans.

As part of the Republican majority controlling the House, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., helped cut a half-billion dollars from the State Department's two main security accounts. One covered security staffing, including guards, armored vehicles and security technology; the other, embassy construction and upgrades.

In 2011 and 2012, President Obama sought $5 billion for these security programs, but the House only approved $4.5 billion.

In 2009, Rep. Issa voted for an amendment cutting nearly 300 diplomatic security positions.

Then on Oct. 19, 2012, he publicly unveiled and identified CIA operational bases in Libya and subsequently released 166 pages of sensitive information on CIA assets inside Libya, including the names of some of those at the consulate annex in Benghazi.

Question 2 -- "Why did you send our ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, to five Sunday morning talk shows to adamantly proclaim that this was a 'spontaneous event of a mob'?" -- seems moot.

So does Question 3 -- "This attack lasted more than seven hours while these brave Americans ... urgently requested help at least three times. ... Why in heaven's name didn't you respond to their cries for help?"

However, Rep. Issa's April 2007 meeting with President Bashar Assad of Syria, coupled with his support of Hezbollah, which killed 260 U.S. Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, and tortured and killed Col. Richard Higgins and CIA attache William Buckley, would perhaps make Rep. Issa's Lebanese heritage an interesting subject.

Bruce K. Hixon

Bowdoin

Retiring senator is right: Parties must foster unity

I firmly agree with Olympia Snowe's Nov. 9 editorial ("Another View: King editorial missed point about what Senate needs").

We must stop with the current petty, back-biting, bickering rhetoric and address the problems of this nation; ridding ourselves of the 30-second nasty ads for the next election would be a great start.

We need to identify a mutually acceptable alternative when each party's position fails, and work together to find a common ground. I believe, in essence, that is what our president was conveying us in his weekly address just after the election.

(Continued on page 2)

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