Afghans don't want surge of troops

Today I read a message from an Afghan woman _ one Malalai Joya who is a member of the Afghanistan parliament. She thinks President Obama's plan to send more troops to Afghanistan is a big mistake. In fact, she says that it is "worse than a mistake. It is a continuation of a war crime against the suffering people of my country." Many people including President Obama think we have to "finish the job." They also say they want to have a better life for the Afghan people. They particularly want to have a better life for the woman and children of Afghanistan. It's too bad they don't listen to what this Afghan woman has to say.

Joya explains that the Taliban were bad but that the Bush administration helped to install fundamentalist warlords who have a similar mindset to the Taliban in the present parliament. I think Obama's plan continues this failed policy.

Some may ask, "What can we do?" This brave woman who is often threatened by her fellow male parliamentarians believes the people of Afghanistan can solve their own problems. As she says, ""¦Afghans"¦ are capable of fighting for democracy, human and women's rights in Afghanistan. In fact, the only way these values will be advanced is if we struggle for them and win them ourselves." Funding for the proposed troop surge still has to be approved by congress. I urge readers to contact their senators and representatives and urge to them vote against such funding. Send them a copy of this letter. Let's not prolong the suffering and let's bring our troops home.

Kate Ryan

Delhi

Brunswick distorted facts on fracking

Cary Brunswick's column of Nov. 14 ("In new rules, DEC should ban "fracking") puts forward several misstatements regarding the development of clean-burning natural gas in New York of which your readers should be aware.

Some of his errors are chronological, like his claim that "the (state) regulations governing natural-gas drilling were adopted in 1992, long before the 'fracking' technique was developed." Mr. Brunswick, and your readers, should know that hydraulic fracturing has been in use for more than 60 years, and has been deployed in the production of shale for nearly three decades.

Other claims are clearly intended to strike an emotional chord, such as Mr. Brunswick's characterization of the materials used in the fracturing process as "chemicals," "poisons" and "toxic." I invite your readers to view the composition of these materials _ 99.5 percent of which is water and sand _ on the state's Department of Environmental Conservation website, or at EnergyInDepth.org. Visitors to Energy In Depth can also access the 2004 report from the Environmental Protection Agency that found fracturing to be safe, along with reports reaching similar conclusions by the Ground Water Protection Council and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Mr. Brunswick tips his hand a bit when he laments that DEC's draft regulations "call for a lot of oversight of fracking,' but do not forbid it." But isn't that the point of regulations _ to establish conditions under which clean-energy resources can be produced?

Sure, professional environmental activists would prefer we have no exploration at all _ but how is that consistent with the economic and security needs of the people who actually live in New York? It's not, and that's why New Yorkers should reject such a campaign.

Lee Fuller

Washington, D.C.

Fuller is policy director for Energy In Depth, a coalition of independent oil and gas producers.

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