Alan Scott: Military exists to project our U.S. on world

To the editor:

I read McLaughlin’s column last week about his Viking ancestry waiting to see how he would spin it into some conservative talking point.

Sure enough, there it was: “[M]en today may wish they never have to tap their innate capacity for combat, but that’s not possible when other men threaten their families and their way of life.”  

It’s a reasonable statement — but if he means to apply it to U.S. foreign policy he comes dangerously close to mimicking George Bush’s ridiculous statement that “They hate us because of our freedoms.”

The fact of the matter is that the threat to Americans living on American soil from foreign attack is minimal.  Nobody is going to invade us and take us over. No other foreign country even has that capability.  

The last time foreign troops set foot on American soil might have been the British in the War of 1812. (Terrorist attacks are another story but their effect is limited and will never bring the whole country down.)

Let’s be clear: The United States has the largest military in the world by far; it has 761 military bases across the globe; it has 10 aircraft carriers in service compared to one for Russia and one for China.

The argument that all this is necessary for self-defense is laughable.

U.S. military strength exists to project U.S. will on the rest of the world. To the extent that this is for the global good, preserving peace and maintaining the world order, it can be justified. However, if you know your history — and McLaughlin certainly should — it is clear that since the beginning of the Cold War the United States has acted covertly and overtly to preserve its strategic interests and the interests of its corporations.

It is done in the name of fighting communism, the Drug War, and now the War on Terror, but a skeptic might not be so easily convinced.

Examples include overthrowing the government of Iran in 1953 because it nationalized its oil. Supporting a coup in Guatemala in 1954 to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company.  

More recently, George Bush sold a frightened public on a theory of weapons of mass destruction in order to invade Iraq in 2003. Iraq had nationalized its oil in 1972 and U.S. companies now have access to it. The list goes on and on. Don’t take my word for it. Please do your own research.  

But consider this: If our domestic policy can be dominated by the interests of the rich and the corporations, so too can our foreign policy.

Alan Scott

Jackson

Dan Shaheen: Samaritan’s swift action restored my faith

To the editor:

July 16, while tubing the Saco from Davis Park to beyond the Conway Village bridge with my girlfriend Linda and 5-year-old granddaughter Brooklyn, we had an incident at the second and rougher set of rapids.

The tow line connecting Brooklyn’s tube to Linda’s became disconnected and the young girl sped downstream alone at the roughest part of the rapids ahead of me and now out of her tube. I struggled to get to her, losing my tube as well.

Gratefully, our PFDs kept us afloat and, while I was trying to reach her, a good Samaritan swam to her rescue, colliding with the rocks in the rushing waters in the process.

He got her and pulled her toward shore, and when I caught up to them, he helped me as well in the swift -moving waters.

Believe me, until you are caught in the currents, you cannot predict or expect the force of moving water. We were both thankful getting back to shore.

In this day and age, where trust in our fellow Americans has become scarce, I would like to shout out a heart-felt thank you to the man I know only as Ronnie, who selflessly averted calamity with his daring rescue. You, sir, restore my belief in the goodness within us all.

Dan Shaheen

North Conway

Michael “Stonewall” Callis: Most people killed by police are armed and violent

To the editor:

Recently, I spoke at the Carroll County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner.

The common concern was the heroin epidemic and what to do about it.

In speaking to my Republican friends, I explained  that the gateway drug to heroin was pharmaceutical opiates much more so than marijuana, based on current developments.

The pharmaceutical companies were forbidden from advertising drugs, but that ended, coinciding with the introduction of Viagra.

Now, the pharma companies spend more on advertising than research.

I  went on to propose a ban on drug advertising for 10 years and using the money that pharma companies would have spent on advertising to be spent on beds and rehabilitation for addicts and their family needs.  

Daymond Steer was right in writing that there was a common concern among the candidates about the heroin crisis in his recent Conway Daily Sun article reporting on the Lincoln Day Dinner.

My approach would punish the perpetrators and send a message to drug companies to avoid behavior that results in tragic consequences.

The tobacco companies paid the states retribution for the burden smoking cigarettes put on state costs for health care.

The same  argument can be made against opiate-dealing drug companies.

My approach was the only one to address how to pay for costs associated with the heroin crisis and prevent it from happening again.

Thank you to Daymond Steer for mentioning I am a candidate. I will be on the  Sept. 13 Republican primary ballot for U.S. House of Representatives.

Michael “Stonewall” Callis

Conway

David G. Wilkins: A vision of what Conway could become

To the editor:

Yesterday, I drove by the sad pile of rubble that was one of Conway’s few surviving historic buildings and I realized that the citizens of Conway need to make some hard decisions.

If such examples of “progress” continue, Conway could gain a reputation as New Hampshire’s longest and ugliest strip mall, a place without history and without tradition.

Those of us who love this part of the world have a vested interest in preserving our nature, our history and our local identity.

I hope Conway’s selectmen and citizens will take a good long look at what Conway has become and realize what it could be with more careful planning and an emphasis on what makes Conway a unique part of New Hampshire’s history and traditions.

David G. Wilkins

Madison

Peter J. Thomas: Most people killed by police are armed and violent

To the editor:

After decades of a declining crime rate, America now faces a law- enforcement crisis.

The well-documented “Ferguson effect” described by FBI Director James Comey has been followed by the Dallas and Baton Rouge massacres and other attacks directed at police officers.  

In Baltimore, a politically inspired prosecution of six police officers has been exposed as baseless by a series of acquittals but has poisoned police-community relations.

Hostility toward the police will continue until lies are replaced by truth.  Michael Brown was not an innocent victim, but rather a thief who attacked a police officer. Blacks are not being disproportionately killed by the police, as was demonstrated by the recent Harvard study.

The database compiled by The Washington Post shows that most people who are killed by the police are armed and violent, and are more likely to be white than black.

Civilization requires law and order.  The police make that possible.  When accused, they should be presumed innocent while awaiting all the facts.  

If proven guilty, they must be punished, but the media must stop treating them as guilty as soon as accused.

Peter J. Thomas

Silver Lake