Letters to the Editor
August 25, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
Afghanistan II
Martin asserted last week that "Joe Biden sold us out for nothing!" I believe that Martin was incorrect. The withdrawal at any cost was the brainchild of then-President Trump in an agreement in which the Taliban "rolled" the US. It is a remarkable document and is available on the internet.
Trump's negotiations with terrorist Taliban culminated in an Agreement in February 2020 entitled, “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and the United States of America.” The US-supported Afghani government with whom we had fought side-by-side for nearly 20 years, and our NATO allies, were not even parties to the Agreement. But a non-state terrorist insurgent was.
I was, then, horrified to watch Trump on Saturday in Alabama praising the Taliban for being "great fighters" and great negotiators." As a testament to the Taliban's prowess at the negotiating table, Trump agreed to release 5000 of their fighters and induced Pakistan to free from prison Mullah Baradar, an Afghan militant and co-founder of the Taliban in Afghanistan, as part of the "Deal." The terms include "protection" for US soldiers, but not the Afghani allies. Though these concessions were bitterly disputed by the Afghani government, Trump sold out our allies and provided the Taliban with a roadmap for our surrender.
While "Mr. Dealmaker" was congratulating himself in Alabama, Bush 43 was issuing a disgusting expression of "sorrow" at the way we left Afghanistan. He and his war-thirsty Neocon minions, including Cheney and Rumsfeld, were hell-bent on invading Afghanistan, though by the time we invaded that country Osama bin Laden had long escaped to Pakistan. And we had no plan for withdrawal.
There is no question that the withdrawal could have and should have been far more strategic. Our allies, the translators and other support personnel, should have been rounded up six weeks ago from outlying regions and put on planes to a place certain. NATO should have been consulted. The terrible withdrawal terms were negotiated by Trump. The execution by the Biden administration is one of heartrending chaos. But no administration involved in this irresponsible and unwinnable experience lacks accountability, at wildly varying degrees.
Now, cable news outlets are breathlessly interviewing the hounds of war: John Bolton and other belligerents, pundits with untarnished histories of being wrong, and Petraeus and other former military who now are ensconced on corporate boards. The same people who 20 years ago told us how successful the occupation would be, then how success was imminent, are now gravely, sagely censuring Biden for Afghanistan.
When will Americans refuse to let our leaders use deceit and fear-mongering ("weapons of mass destruction!") and ill-placed revenge (if we were going to attack the country which provided the 9/11 terrorists, it would have been Saudi Arabia, but that country was too valuable to us) in order to bully us into false wars? Wars that have nation-building hubris and military-industrial complex profits as their purpose rather than defense?
Now, we owe it to the Afghanis who believed our promises of support, and helped keep our soldiers - our children - alive or safer than they would have been, at great danger to themselves. They may have helped save the life of a military person you love. They have earned a place in our country and in the countries of allies. These people are not strangers to us. We owe them. And the world is watching to see how we treat our allies.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
We’re approaching the September 14 Recall election and I think it’s important to know some facts so you can make a sound decision. I’ve tried to “fact check” these. Searched for reasons to keep Newsom and reasons for him to go. I found the former was much more difficult than the latter. I vote not along party lines, but on platform. Who represents us should represent us, the citizens, not a political party. Anyway, here is what I found.
According to the LA Times here are the reasons not to recall Newsom:
While he (1) fumbled at times while leading the state during the COVID pandemic; (2) made some poor personal and policy choices; (3) public communication has been unclear or confusing on occasion; (4) he’s alienated political allies unnecessarily; (5) changed course on the pandemic abruptly and sometimes mysteriously; and finally (6) the largest fraud of public money in state history happened under his watch. But they ask, are these shortcomings grounds to recall him in “favor of an untested replacement”?
And as Newsom said in his Recall Argument, “The recall is an attempt by national Republicans
... to force an election and grab power in California.”
And to see how the first time governor did, here are the answers to the test, these are some reasons to vote to recall Newsom:
(1) massive executive orders – acting without legislature approval; (2) mandatory mail-in voting;
(3) on-going shutdowns, (4) loss of small businesses, loss of jobs; (5) unemployment checks to prisoners/felons in the amount of $500 million; (6) over $30 billion in unemployment agency fraud; (7) $80 million on billboard “education” plan to remind people to social distance; (8) granting clemency for felons: those who raped and murdered, even committed heinous crimes against children (that’s why he can close prisons); (9) homeless rate in CA is out of control; (10)infringing on the 2nd Amendment and put in place new gun and ammo laws; (11) Sanctuary State of illegals and criminals; (12) illegal aliens can now sit on state boards; (13) CA has the highest state income tax in the USA; (14) vaccination of children required or be fined; (15) mandatory health insurance or be find; (16) $98 million a year to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants; (17) overruling vote of the people to reinstate the death penalty (whether you believe in the penalty or not, it was the vote of the people); (18) spent $5.4 billion for the bullet train going nowhere; (19) over $1 trillion in state debt; (20) cut water to thousands of farms; (21) failed to pay his own property taxes, again; (22) 4% salary increase for Newsom and state lawmakers in 2019; 10% pay cut to all state employees in 2020. Newsom and state lawmakers still making 6% more making Newsom the highest paid governor in the USA; (23) $12 million spent on the Sleep Train Arena to treat 9 COVID patients; (24) enacted statewide rent control when it was voted down in the 2020 election; (25) seeking a $1 trillion collateralized loan from China; and (26) redirected gas tax money from roads and highways to railways.
Always good to be an informed voter.
Patti Walker,