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Letters to the Editor for Friday, Aug. 9

  • Updated

Throughout American history, liberty has been won and preserved through personal sacrifices. But a recent chapter in our history offers no cause for patriotic pride.

In World War II, Americans supported the war effort through the military draft, rationing of materials, victory gardens, war bonds and higher taxes (the tax rate in 1945 was 94 percent on income above $200,000. During the Vietnam era the public was linked to the war through the military draft plus a surtax on income tax. These citizen sacrifices served as links between the decision to wage war and the costs of that decision.

But in Iraq and Afghanistan the decision to go to war contained no such links. Unless you were part of a military family, there was nothing asked — not even financial participation. Incredibly, the decision was followed by a tax reduction — the polar opposite of a sacrifice.

So how were these wars financed? We chose debt over taxation. Debt with no provisions for payback. The tax cuts simply compounded the sum. These two actions have added $3 trillion to $4 trillion to our national debt.

This dodging of financial responsibility is inconsistent with a proud record of support for our armed forces.

A war should be funded as an extraordinary expense apart from routine defense budgeting.

Liberals and conservatives should find common ground on supporting our armed forces in these two wars. A war debt surtax could be paired with reductions in spending to reach a balanced budget. The scope could be limited to the cost of military action in Iraq and Afghanistan — wars we chose to initiate but not fund.

Unpaid debts are hard to live with, especially when they are laid on the backs of our children and grandchildren. We should own up to this one.

Carl Voelker

Deer Point Drive

Seabrook Island

I am all in favor of encouraging folks to use bikes. I recognize the health and economic benefits. But let’s be sensible about it and weigh these benefits against the costs and dangers that may be created by bike paths.

To create a bike lane on the James Island Connector and reduce the speed limit seem dangerous. To convert one traffic lane on the Ashley River Bridge to a bike lane is simply a bad idea.

To oppose the bicycle lobby today is almost an offense in political correctness. But sadly the shrillness of the zealous masks the calmer and more reasonable voices of the majority of citizens.

Among the chorus is the Coastal Conservation League (CCL). Katie Zimmerman, project director for CCL, believes it is unnecessary to study the impact of reducing the speed limit and adding a bike lane on the connector.

This is from CCL, which has led the costly fight against cruise ships in Charleston. Proposed bridge changes to accommodate bicycles will certainly have more impact on the community than two cruise ship visits a week.

The same criteria CCL used to oppose the Union Pier terminal should be applied to proposals for the bridges.

Shouldn’t bikes and their riders, as with cars and their drivers, be registered, insured, licensed and required to have brakes?

Will increased congestion decrease air quality? How about property values when homeowners West of the Ashley can no longer claim a quick 10-minute journey to downtown Charleston?

Tom Bradford of Charleston Moves, another voice in the bike lobby chorus, cited in The Post and Courier a report from the Frontier Group indicating 16- to 34-year-olds were driving less than in the past. He left a lot out.

The 2009 National Travel Survey from the U.S. Department of Transportation found the decrease between 2001 and 2009 was significant for only 16 to 34-year-olds. The growth in annual miles driven was sizable for people ages 65 and older. The thousands who use those bridges daily need to be convinced this plan isn’t pandering to a chosen few.

Pat Jones

Anson Street

Charleston

Hollywood was once a patriotic machine especially in World War II. With the passing of John Wayne, Lee Marvin and other legends, Hollywood began putting out movies blaming this great country for all the ills of this world.

But an HBO Films movie that is still airing makes you proud to be an American. The 2009 movie, “Taking Chance,” is one of the few films I have seen that I can put into the passing legends category. The lead character is played by Kevin Bacon in by far his greatest role.

I am so proud of all the people who work for the airlines, funeral homes, hotels and other jobs who deserve recognition for showing so much respect and love for our fallen men and women.

I highly recommend this movie, but I warn you, have a Kleenex box close by. You might loose some tears or do a lot of sniffing and swallowing, but your heart will swell with pride.

John Wilkinson

Kershaw Road

Summerville

I am pleased that President Obama recently announced a plan to combat climate change and advance clean energy.

The plan includes a call for reducing carbon pollution from power plants — enormous contributors to the pollution driving climate change. That pollution also harms our health and economy.

We already see effects of climate change: more intense storms, more severe heat waves, more persistent droughts and more prevalent wildfires. Superstorm Sandy alone caused billions of dollars in damages and killed at least 125 people in the United States and more than 70 in the Caribbean region.

Increased temperatures also lead to more bad-air days, which are of particular concern for the very young, the elderly, and those with asthma and other health problems. We can’t afford to ignore these costs any longer.

Investing in renewable energy, increased efficiency and pollution controls will create jobs and a more resilient economy. In fact, history shows when we rein in pollution we get a big bang for the buck.

When it comes to climate, the costs of inaction are mounting. We owe it to the future — our children and generations yet unborn to meet this challenge.

William D. Anderson Jr.

Clearview Drive

Charleston

More than 20 embassies closed because of terrorist threats? The fact that we cannot protect our own embassies is inexcusable.

A thousand prisoners escaped in Libya? I thought the United States of America was the most powerful country in the world.

I don’t think the rest of the world is viewing America as a superpower right now.

Do you?

Elizabeth Masiowski

Greeley Road

Mount Pleasant

I never thought it would happen to us. Our house was burglarized and ransacked. My family’s whole world changed. And although they field this type of call every day, City of Charleston police officers treated it as if it was their whole world too, especially Officer Zachary Voegler, Officer Matthew Shier and the crime scene team. They were compassionate and very thorough in their investigation.

The very next day Detective Robert York and his team were at a local shop retrieving our stolen property. Without their fast work, our items would have been gone forever.

The constant communication and updates on the case have eased our minds as much as possible and have helped us with the healing process.

Detective York treated our case as if it was his own home that had been broken into.

After an arrest was made, the victim services department and Detective Jerod Simmons were immediately in contact with us to keep us abreast of the situation. We were very impressed with the system.

Thank you, City of Charleston Police Department. You are a well-oiled machine.

Michelle Nichols

Madagascar Court

Charleston

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