Apologies due

On July 3, 1988, Iranian Flight 655, an Airbus 300 with 290 passengers and crew, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from the USS Vincennes. There were no survivors. The plane was in Iranian air space and on its usual flight path.

There is an eerie similarity here: The Iranian Flight 655 with just shy of 300 passengers was downed 26 years before Maylasian Flight 17 with over 300 passengers, also in July. Both in questionable territories.

Two stupid mistakes in the fog of war. Of equal stupidity, two heads of state making incendiary statements of national bluster: Vice President George H.W. Bush (in campaign mode, and soon to be our elected president), opining at the time, "I'll never apologize for the United States, I don't care what the facts are."

President Vladimir Putin's statements and actions continue to mount as the international rhetoric continues to heats up.

We need to separate two different international issues - the Ukraine separatist and Crimean annexation vis a vis President Putin's imperialistic moves, and the downing of Maylasian Flight 17.

The first is a deliberate and Machiavellian international policy maneuver with atavistic illusions of restoring the Soviet Union. The second is no more or less than a tragic event in the fog of war. Sad to say, it will not be the last.

The international community must be granted unfettered access to the crash site to complete its investigation. Once undeniable fault is determined, and assuming Russia was complicit in this heinous act, the world community must demand an apology from President Putin for this horrendous event.

Concurrently, a similar official apology should be delivered by the president of the United States to the world for the mistaken identity and destruction of Iranian Flight 655.

While 26 years late, it just may return a little luster to our tarnished international persona.

George I. Boniface

Parc Vue Drive

Mount Pleasant

Unfair to Israel

I constantly marvel at the amount of space that you provide columnists who have nothing of value to say. The July 25 Post and Courier offers a perfect example: "Netanyahu crosses a moral line."

Eugene Robinson, the tendentious columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group, has the unmitigated gall to preach to Israel about how it should commit suicide for the sake of his version of morality. Robinson begins by expressing support for Israel's right to defend itself, but he falls back into the anti-Israeli theme about "proportionate response." His concern for civilian casualties is worn as a medal.

He sits safely ensconced in Washington while Israelis sit unsafely ensconced beneath an unremitting barrage of missiles. He uses Israel's brilliant shield (the Iron Dome) as an excuse for lecturing about its responsibility to scale back efforts to stop Hamas from its goal (stated succinctly in its Charter) to destroy Israel utterly and completely.

As for the civilians, it was they who overwhelmingly gave power to Hamas in free elections (just ask Jimmy Carter). They must reap the whirlwind of their own fecklessness. As to where they can hide - what about the tunnels dug by Hamas (for the purpose of infiltrating Israel to murder civilians), using concrete supplied by the Israelis so that the Gazans could build homes?

If the Israelis have any fault at all, it is in providing the means (cement, water, power) by which Hamas could pursue its evil ends. It is Eugene Robinson who is morally bankrupt in his use of the morality stick to beat Israel about the head and shoulders.

A question for Robinson: Since the Nazis experienced far more casualties in World War II than the Americans, were the Nazis morally superior? Should the American army have held back in storming into Germany? Should England not have bombed Dresden?

If your answer to any of the previous questions is "yes," then you forfeit your right to respect. If your answer is "no," then your inconsistency speaks volumes.

If you really want a succinct clarification of moral values in this conflict I recommend the column ("Why the Israelis are back In Gaza") by Paul Greenberg, directly adjacent to Mr. Robinson's screed. It is Mr. Greenberg who shows moral clarity. It is Mr. Greenberg who is worthy of respect.

Stuart Kaufman

Old Course Lane

Mount Pleasant

Energize economy

Oil and natural gas development in the Atlantic could be a huge boon to South Carolina's economy. On July 18, the American Petroleum Institute welcomed the Department of the Interior's decision to issue permits for seismic surveys in the Atlantic. Seismic surveys have been used in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world for decades. Now that the decision to issue permits has been made, API is urging the administration to move quickly so that surveying operations can begin next spring.

Earlier this year, a poll showed that 72 percent of South Carolina voters support offshore drilling for domestic oil and natural gas resources.

These voters are seeing that the national energy renaissance on state and private lands has created hundreds of thousands of jobs and helped consumers save on energy across the country.

These benefits are the results of U.S. production of crude oil and natural gas on state and privately owned lands rising from 2009 to 2013 by 61 percent and 33 percent, respectively, according to the Congressional Research Service. However, on federal lands and offshore areas, production of crude oil dropped by 6 percent and natural gas by 28 percent over the same period.

This could be an opportunity for South Carolina. Legislation is being considered to allow every coastal state the opportunity to share a percentage of government revenues generated by energy production off its coast.

Reducing obstacles to oil and natural gas production on federal lands and waters could kick South Carolina's and our entire national economy, into high gear, create jobs across the country and generate billions of dollars in revenue for the government.

Reid T. Porter

Spokesman

American Petroleum Institute

L Street N.W.

Washington, D.C.

And getting worse

By every objective measure, the traffic situation on Johns Island is a real mess and expected future development will seriously degrade this situation even further.

Johns Island needs a solid traffic development plan that includes a sound, high capacity peripheral road system with maximum flow technology like roundabouts, and a well thought-out highway connection system.

The current situation is not only counterproductive to future development but extremely detrimental to optimal emergency evacuation plans. This is obvious to every Johns Island resident and yet nothing is being done.

Jonathan E. Walker

Coral Reef Drive

Johns Island

Reinforce borders

While our borders are in turmoil and are in great need of policing, our soldiers are being handed pink slips. I have a simple solution to both problems in mind. Why don't we take those soldiers, who are highly trained and qualified, and instead of firing them, give them the job of securing the border?

Take some of the money the Obama administration has asked for in order to deal with the border catastrophe and fund our soldiers. Keep this country safe from intruders, and stop the influx of illegal immigration.

Nancy Weiner

Legends Club Drive

Mount Pleasant

Artful bike racks

A July 26 editorial addressed bikes in downtown Charleston. I recently visited Athens, Ga., and its bike racks were designed by local artists. They were stunning in the downtown area. I suggest that we consider the Phillip Simmons workshop or the American College for the Building Arts as possible sources for constructing bike racks.

With all the artists in our community, I know that we will have a multitude of ideas. Long live functional art.

Jane Farrell

Brook Haven Court

Mount Pleasant