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April 15-22, 2009

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Letters to the Editor


Obama's Slippery Slope

PRESIDENT Obama's recent comment directed to terrorists that "We will defeat you" shocked me. He seemed to be quoting George W. Bush. Not a good sign. And sending more troops to Afghanistan and supporting Israel as previous administrations have are also causes for concern.

Becoming embroiled in these endless wars can only undermine his presidency in terms of both foreign and domestic policies. There is no way to militarily defeat people who are willing to blow themselves up. They will not be intimidated and we are driving more and more recruits into their camp every time we kill innocent civilians.

The incredible investment in weapons and war has bled us dry. All of the programs Obama hopes to fund at home will go begging, as Lyndon Johnson found out when he tried to have his Great Society and pursue the Vietnam War at the same time.

And who does it serve? Only those who make money from the wars and manufacture of weapons. Surely not those who fight and die or are maimed, and not the families who send sons and daughters into harm's way. Another generation of Americans are being shoveled onto the streets to hold up signs saying, "Homeless Vet, please help."

It is time to dismantle the American Empire. It is time to bring our troops home. All of them. There is no justification for maintaining military bases around the world except for purposes of domination.

And the world is no longer willing to put up with that arrogance.

It's time for the United States to become a respectable member of the world community and not just the biggest bully on the block. President Obama has an opportunity to initiate significant changes. The world and the American people are hungry for a way out of the craziness. He seems like an incredibly smart and decent man. This is one of the many arenas in which he will be tested. It's a slippery slope he's walking on and I am hoping he doesn't lose his footing.

 Moss Henry,
Santa Rosa

 

Stop Stem Cell Slaughter

I AM disappointed with President Obama's decision to rescind the Bush administration's strict limits on human embryonic stem-cell research.

Obama confuses scientific integrity with Frankenstein science. Human welfare does not demand that scientists pursue every avenue available. On the contrary, it depends upon a shared responsibility that involves moral limits.

Science has confirmed with objective certainty that full human life begins at conception with the formation of a genetically complete, self-directing human entity, the embryo. Life does not result from an organism when it has been built up, but rather it is the vital principle of life that builds up the organism of its own body. This was established 120 years ago by Wilhelm His, the father of human embryology.

From this starting point, the human life history unfolds as a continuum--embryo-foetus-baby-child-adult-elderly person--and ending in death. Each point on the continuum is fully human with the full human properties appropriate to its stage of development.

Embryonic stern-cell research involves the destruction of living human embryos. This amount to the direct and intentional killing of human beings.

Amazingly, though embryonic stem cell experiments have failed to produce a single, unqualified, therapeutic success, even in animal models, supporters of the embryonic model continue to laud their unproven and currently unethical methods and ignore the fact that adult stem cell therapies are being used extensively today in treating over seventy diseases. A major breakthrough in November of 2007 showed that pluripotent stem cells (embryo-like stem cells) can ethically be derived from human skin cells by "reprogramming" them with special genes.

The smart plan for the U.S. and Canada's future would be to encourage the myriad of available alternatives, rather than funding the most unethical type of research that relies on a form of discrimination against an entire class of humans--embryonic humans--being singled out for targeted destruction at the hands of researchers.

Human beings are not raw materials that can be exploited or commodities that can be bought and sold. We must help those who are suffering, but we may not use a good end to justify an evil means.

Paul Kokoski,
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


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