Editorial understated the issue

Editorial understated the issue

I’m afraid I have a bit of a quib- ble regarding your editorial of Apr. 29 regarding the suspected or potential use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria.

We have a tendency here in America to ‘Hollywoodize’ our memory of events (Hollywoodize: to simplify and give a pro-American slant). You said the U.S. “looked the other way when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons to kill thousands of ethnic Kurds in 1988. That emboldened Hussein and the eventual cost was enormous and is still being calculated.” That is not quite accurate. At the time Saddam was engaged in a war against Iran that was encouraged and secretly supported by the U.S. which provided intelligence and the said chemical weapons to Saddam.

The infamous friendly visit by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took place in 1988. The U.S. did not object because Saddam was doing our bidding in attacking Iran. We also shot down an Iranian civilian airliner that same year — a kind of poke in the eye, to Iran just to show them.

As for the “costs” which are “still being calculated,” I think those came from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 based upon falsified CIA intelligence in order to justify our invasion of Iraq. As for Syria, though I despise Assad and his conduct in this “civil war,” I don’t believe there is as yet any evidence that he has used chemical weapons. Disinformation, rumor and suspicions are not facts on the ground. We should be extremely cautious of leaping into another abyss because we think we see shadows there.

Our past indiscretions in that region of the world does not allow us to play the part of the “hero” in any more CIA-incited conflicts.

Roger Lafontaine, Youngstown

Help the postman feed the hungry

Saturday, May 11th will mark the 21st anniversary of the “Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive” sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers. This will be the largest one-day food drive in the world. Participation is simple. If you leave a nonperishable food donation in a bag by your mailbox on that day, your letter carrier will pick it up for distribution to a local food bank or pantry.

The letter carriers estimate that 30 million people will be fed as a result of this drive. Hungry children struggle at school and suffer adverse health consequences. Nearly 3 million seniors, who live on fixed income, also face issues presented by lack of proper nutrition. While many food drives occur during the holiday season, few focus on the needs that arise during the summer months when children may not have access to school lunches and food pantry resources become depleted. This is the perfect opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors. Please consider joining me in donating to this worthwhile cause.

Nick Barborak, Lisbon

The writer is state representative from the 5th Ohio House District.