Quote from Obama was out of context

Sometimes the best part of my day is reading the comics. In this instance, the levity comes in the form of a letter, thanks to Howard T. Lynch of Oneonta. I have to give credit to him. He did his part in making me chuckle, if only in disbelief.

The part I enjoyed the most was his blatantly ill-informed `quote'' attributed to Barack Obama, whereas he espouses, "Should the political winds shift in an ugly direction, I will side with the Muslims."

Mr. Lynch, did you actually read "Audacity of Hope," or are you paraphrasing something you read from an e-mail that was circulating during the election?

Let me assist you with your obvious confusion. The actual quote you are having trouble with is on page 261 of "Audacity of Hope" and reads as follows:

"Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

Talk about taking something out of context.

You fervently hope that God will help America, I presume, because of this `scandalous'' road to the White House. I would suggest you do your part in being the best American you can be and leave the more pressing issues of the day to those better qualified than yourself.

Douglas Knox


India, Pakistan must avoid war

A month after the terrorist attack on Mumbai's two historic landmarks of the Taj and Oberoi hotels, life has resumed its normal pace. The two hotels reopened with chants from eight different religious groups showing solidarity existing in India's diverse population. The majority sentiment among the people is that India and Pakistan should work together to handle the problem of terrorism.

Pakistan should openly admit the presence and operation of the terrorists from its territory and should use every force to flush them out. Instead, Pakistan has been creating war hysteria that is distracting attention from the real issue. This diversion leading to a war between the two nuclear giants will be counterproductive because the terrorists will gain more of a foothold in Pakistan.

If Pakistan refuses to flush out these terrorists, the world body should put sanctions on Pakistan by stopping all its aid. That should be one of the top priorities of the Obama administration. The problem of terrorism needs to be tackled head on. President Bill Clinton would be an excellent choice to head a peace delegation to meet with the Indian and Pakistani governments. This should be done immediately before the two countries get into fighting a useless and costly war.

By uniting on eradicating the terrorists, India and Pakistan could use this cooperation as a model to handle issues of Kashmir, river water use, opening the borders and economic cooperation.

There is much to be gained by unifying the forces of the two nuclear giants rather than fighting a non-winnable war.

Obama's "Yes, we can" is workable here. Much benefit will accrue if India and Pakistan take a united stand against the terrorists. Through divisiveness and a futile war, they will destroy each other and harm the innocent people of their countries.

Ashok Malhotra


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