Letters to the editor

Remember the goal is peace

The red flags and the white flags on the SOU campus draw both praise and ire, and create discussion. This is a silent and powerful form of expression, and that is good.

On May 26 there is a Welcome Home for vets from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other wars at the Bowmer Theater in Ashland, please see .

This is another form of expression, and that is good. On Jan. 14, 1969, I was on the USS Enterprise (aircraft carrier) when the flight deck blew up and I lost 29 shipmates &

and by bare seconds I was spared from death.

I saw death in the face that those flags represent, red or white, and it is about humanity. I have celebrated vets coming home before, and its time for that to stop.

I'll be clear: peace is a goal, and peace is the process to help humanity grow up. It starts with each one of us, individually.

David Wick

SOU flag display meant to honor all lives lost in war

I remember my mother's reaction when she learned of the Watergate tapes. Her shock gave way to tears as she experienced a sense of betrayal by a man and a government she trusted, believed, respected and had long supported.

It is natural to lash out at those who rub our noses in reality, causing us to question deep-seeded beliefs, whether that was their intention or not.

We need to believe that the actions of a government we are taught to support have meaning. That the lives of loved ones lost to war were not lost in vain.

The debate over whether or not war is ever justifiable is not a new one.

Many believe there are times that we are called upon to kill in order to prevent a greater loss of life.

More seem to question the justifiability of the U.S.'s entry into Vietnam and Iraq, than questioned our entry into WWII, for example.

I don't know the answer to that age-old question. I think each person needs to answer it for oneself.

But, I believe that whoever chooses, as an individual or a country, to go to war, or to fund war, should do so only after learning all the facts &

knowing what it really means to go to war.

And, I think it is helpful to talk about it among ourselves as a community, honoring and respecting the opinions of all.

To me, all lives are precious, be they Republicans or Democrats, capitalists or communists, Christian, Jew or Muslim. Peace House's intent in sponsoring this exhibit (SOU Iraq casualties exhibit, April 28 - May 4) was to honor all whose lives have been lost to war and to raise awareness of the cost of war in terms of those lives lost.

This particular exhibit focused on the current war in Iraq since March 19, 2003, as an example.

I appreciate all who have taken the time to express their opinion about the exhibit, especially the few who have taken offense or assumed disrespect. Certainly, none was intended. Yet, it takes courage to speak up with a minority viewpoint or to ask pointed questions.

And, it increases all our understanding of one another to hear all voices.

As Americans, we don't often see the numbers of those who have been killed in the Iraq War, especially the number of Iraqis.

When we do see or hear a number such as 655,000 (a moderate estimate by most accounts), it can be difficult to visualize.

I am grateful to those who originated the idea of planting small flags to help visualize the number, and to those at IraqBodyCountExhibit.org who make the collection available to communities for display.

I wish to thank Southern Oregon University for permitting Students for Truth to erect it, the veterans who planted the red flags symbolizing the lives of Americans, the more than 75 community volunteers, including family members of Americans currently serving in Iraq, who planted the white flags, and to all who have contributed to purchase more flags for future displays.

Pam Vavra

Complaint about conditions in the county jail

I'd like to call the public's attention to a violation of the Constitution, and the rights of inmates in The Jackson County Jail.

Prisoners are no longer arraigned in front of a physical judge. Rather their constitutional rights (which average Americans have fought and died for from New Orleans to the beaches of Normandy) are read to them through a tiny volume TV.

Only those few with excellent hearing, seated near the TV, can make ANYTHING out. (It was at its loudest setting).

I beg those, who can, to gain access and verify that this is the case QUICKLY.

Educated readers will see that this is all an incredible and unfortunate state of affairs.

Thousands of convictions may be overturned, and the public may only have the funds to re-try violent criminals and the lapse of time since their offenses could give them an advantage.

So I blow this whistle very reluctantly.

However, there have long been de-humanizing abuses of power in the Jackson County jail and justice system that need to be addressed and filing complaints, etc., hasn't been effective.

Sean Lawlor Nelson

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