It could be argued that the cost of carrying on two wars at once is probably the principal cause of our economic difficulties.

The even greater cost is the loss of our moral standing.

The WikiLeaks papers tell of the torture, killing and destruction done in our name by some military members, and far worse by employees of the companies we hire to keep the military supplied.

To these facts add the statistics already known about the Iraq war. More than 200,000 Iraqis have died. Millions were driven from their homes and 1.5 million were forced to flee the country as refugees, of whom less than 20 percent have been able to return. Uncountable homes have been destroyed, and public buildings and mosques demolished. Water and electricity have been unavailable for long periods of time. People have lived in fear for years.

We seized their oil fields the first day. The military mismanaged them, losing millions of dollars meant to rebuild Iraq. When the Iraqi government took over and held an auction of leases in the second-largest known oil reserve in the world, the first sale was to BP.

BP is the first clear winner in the war.

We pray that the government will work and that Iraq will recover. However, the United States will be remembered for a long time for using a base in one Muslim country to invade other Muslim countries.

Charles K. Brown


I’m upstairs working in my office. I hear my 3-year-old granddaughter, Brooklyn, crying downstairs. She is sobbing.

After a few minutes, I go downstairs. My granddaughter is crying. My daughter-in-law is crying. My wife is crying. I ask what is going on. Nobody can speak.

Brooklyn tells me she wants to go in a bag.

I finally get out of my wife that they were packaging fudge to send to our son, who is in the Navy and deployed in Japan. Brooklyn didn’t understand why they could not put her in a bag so she could go see her daddy.

I am so proud of my two sons who are in the service. I’m proud that we are a military family. However, right now, my heart hurts for a little girl who doesn’t know what pride is. She just wants to see her daddy.

Our family is not unique. We have a big family that is close by. There are military families all over the country who have it tougher than we do.

Many have made sacrifices much greater than ours. Do you have one of those families living near you? Reach out. Offer to baby-sit. Offer to rake the leaves or clean out the garage. Offer to take the kids for a walk so the parent at home can have some alone time or get something done. Maybe just call and say hi and offer your support and thanks.

Scott Simmonds


Regarding the question on Islamophobia in the United States, as featured in a recent Newsweek magazine:

I would really love to see some articles printed about the positive feelings of some Muslim residents of Maine regarding how they feel about all the information we receive concerning radical Islamic members who shout “Death to the USA.”

We hear of those who took refuge here in the United States — after having received financial aid for housing, learned English, and received the friendship and warmth of fellow employees, students and neighbors who assisted them with acclimating — who have been trained by leaders here or abroad to plant bombs and kill the U.S. citizens who gave them refuge, especially Christians and Jews.

We hear nothing much from Muslim refugees here who hate the hateful voices and actions of the radical Muslims, the killers.

Please, if Islam is a supposedly peaceful religion, help us who want to believe this possibility to get some information supporting a positive view.

Elisa Malic


Politicians teach children wrong lesson about decency


Surely I’m not the only one who sees this.

A local TV news station recently broadcast a segment on an assembly at South Portland’s Memorial Middle School that had an anti-bullying focus. The assistant principal, George Conant, said everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.

However, if children see every other political campaign commercial breaking this golden rule, what real importance does this one moment of school instruction teach them?

The government has taken a position to steer schools into action against this sad problem that children are facing. But who is going to bring attention to the elephant in the room? Who really cares about this, if on one hand we are teaching by example while blatantly lying in the process?

Where is the heart in our actions? Is there any leader who can face this issue selflessly, honestly and openly, caring more about the future of our innocent children?

Please, anyone who hears me and can do anything to help teach our children truth, we so desperately need you now.

Sybil M. Staples


After listening to the news yesterday, I am close to conceding that the country I have loved and honored my entire life is becoming lost to me. I feel less connected every day.

I taught my children to honor and respect this country, to stand and reflect when in the presence of our country’s flag, to respect our president and other elected officials, to be informed, to vote, to give their time and talents to solve problems in their communities, to know it is a good thing to respect the ideas of others, to hold the belief that along with your neighbors you can develop good solutions, and in doing so you will live and love in a country that gives its best for its people. What in heck has happened to us?

There is an elephant in the parlor and few are acknowledging it. Half of the people in this country are being denigrated by our leadership, and I hear very little outrage. Where is it? My president clearly articulated that because I support conservative ideas for how this country can best support its diverse population, and this does not follow his agenda, that I should sit down and shut up.

What happened to respect for the ideas of fellow Americans? What happened to the country whose elected officials work together with honesty and integrity, using those powers granted by our Constitution to support the people? When did we start to think it is OK for politicians to attack the honor and integrity of people who do not share their political views?

We need to fix this before there remains not a shred of human decency in the political process.

Eileen D. Lowell