{"headlinelight18"/}Rules we should follow to go to war

America should never go to war unless these rules are followed:

Rule 1: All wars must be fought to defend a vital interest of America. The president will be required to explain what that interest is in two or fewer simple sentences.

Rule 2: No war can last longer than two years unless 75 percent of the Congress agrees to an extension, and an "exit strategy" must be in place from day one.

Rule 3: All wars have to be paid for in the United States budget, and a special "war tax" will be levied to do this.

Rule 4: No war will be fought against a country that 50 percent of Americans cannot locate on an unlabeled world map.

Rule 5: We won't go to war to support any nation whose government does not have the support of the vast majority of its citizens.

Rule 6: American soldiers, sailors and airmen will not be expected to serve more than one tour of duty in a war zone. If there are not enough troops available from the volunteer ranks, a "national service" draft will be held.

Rule 7: All American military personnel injured as a result of war will receive the same health care coverage as members of Congress and our nation will support them not only in word but in deed.

God, bless America.

Lyle R. Chastaine

Stamford

{"headlinelight18"/}Good government protects the weak

This is regarding Robert Beckman's letter of Nov. 17, in which he states that food, shelter, clothing and health care are necessities, not rights, and as such should be provided by charity, not the government.

Taking care of the community by making sure everyone has a minimum level of food, clothing, shelter, health care and education makes my country more free, not less. It makes life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness possible. One way to judge good governance is whether it protects the weak from the powerful, and whether it provides safety, equality of opportunity and economic fairness, which allows people to take advantage of opportunity. The idea that access to the necessities of life should be a free-for-all, claw your way to the top fight, with the winners tossing a few charitable crumbs down, is an insult to everyone in this country and to what America could be.

No one benefits when someone who is ill with an infectious disease doesn't get treated because of lack of insurance, when a parent can't afford medication, or when families file for bankruptcy because of a car accident. Most uninsured people work full time or more at jobs that don't offer insurance and pay so little that the choice is shelter and food versus insurance.

If "Americans have always provided services to satisfy these needs," as the letter stated, why do we have this situation? Where are the free clinics, bankrolled and staffed by all those people who believe government has no place in health care? What percentage of their income are they willing to donate to local funds for uninsured patients? And will doing these things, as good as they are, fix the basic inequities and flaws in the system?

Deborah Blue

Oneonta

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