Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Thursday, September 23, 2004
By Smokey Briggs
What’s wrong with
the war in Iraq?
Allowing for the moment that the invasion of Iraq was justified to protect American citizens, there is still something horribly wrong with the current state of affairs.
I do not say that lightly because at 39 years of age I have lived through four decades of what I would term an age of weakness.
Most of the political choices I have had have been between two politicians both of whom ought to wear dresses as Pittsburg linebacker Jack Lambert once said of quarterbacks.
It has been a wimpy age full of touchy-feely nonsense that has permeated everything from foreign policy to schoolyards.
Masculinity of any form has generally been scorned or at least suspect.
Fifth graders settling a matter of honor with their fists is grounds for calling in the authorities and much worrying about their futures.
Men and women are supposed to be the exact same creatures physically and mentally.
And almost without exception our foreign policy has seemed to be that of a nation of wimps.
We let the communist overrun our allies in South Viet Nam because we lacked the will to take the war to them.
Carter wrung his hands while Iran held American citizens captive.
Reagan did squat after 241 Marines died in their barracks in 1983.
Bush Sr.’s prosecution of the war against Iraq was an exercise in political hand wringing as we danced around world opinion like it mattered.
The Clintons (yes both of them) and his congresses gutted our military while pushing it deeper and deeper into the social engineering of a feminized world where race and gender become far more important than performance.
Then along comes George W. Terrorists bombed the World Trade Center. We were attacked.
At first, I was relieved as it became apparent we were going to do something - anything other than standby and whimper.
My first response, and I stand by it now, it that all of our energies should be concentrated on hunting down and killing every terrorist on the face of the earth.
When we rolled into Afghanistan to hunt al-Qaida it seemed like a good move.
Had I been king all four Marine divisions and most of the Army would have gone on a whirl-wind tour of the world with a very simple set of orders - locate terrorist group, get off the ships, roll over terrorist group like a steamroller, get back on ships and repeat as needed.
Countries harboring terrorist would have soon discovered what the term “peace through superior firepower” is all about.
So, when we rolled through Iraq like grass through a goose, I was okay with that. It looked like Iraq might a significant ally to our enemies.
The whole weapons of mass destruction thing, and the “freeing the people of Iraq” made me cringe.
Unless we are going to start rolling over the China’s of the world, that battle cry just makes us a noisy bully willing only to stand by our principles when it does not hurt too much.
But, like I said, when we rolled through Iraq, I was okay with it. At least we were doing something, and the strategy seemed to be one of find the bad guys, kill them, and go home.
Apparently President Bush really meant that part about freeing the Iraqi people and creating democracy in a big sandbox full of people that cannot even pronounce the word, much less understand it.
Which means he is either a liar or a dipstick.
So know, our boys are sitting ducks in what is essentially a civil war between different Iraqi factions. They are playing nanny and the kids have RPGs.
And there is no fixing this problem. Iraq is the name of a geographic location, but it is not the name for a people. There are at least three very different groups of people over there each of which hates the other two.
You cannot make even a semblance of a democratic government out of that mess. (We may get to rediscover that wisdom ourselves one day given the ever-growing gulf between many Americans on core issues these days).
There are two possible solutions in Iraq: 1) give them all guns and tell them to have the winners give us a call when it is over, or 2) divide the country into three or four parts with new names.
In absolutely no scenario does the presence of our troops make a bit of difference.
Justified war or pure folly - it is time to bring them home and get back to doing something useful like hunting terrorist.
Democracy in Iraq is just stupid and certainly not worth the blood of our soldiers.
Higher pay for serfs should be included in decisions
To the Editor:
The city council wants to raise the tax rate by 15%? How many taxpayers got a 15% raise this year? Councilman Rodriguez says the tax hike is necessary because “everything has gone up.” I would remind Rodriguez that the serf’s costs have increased as well. Remember too, valuations are up…via an interesting statistical model used by the appraiser. To whom, Mr. Rodriguez, do the serfs go when money is short?
Raising taxes brings crocodile tears from four council members and a chorus of “Everybody’s Doin’ It Doin’ It.” We’ve been buying these fools embroidered shirts…and a cop makes $22,000. As a warning against committing felonious foolery and malicious moronism, the entire council and mayor should be impaled on pikes at the city limits.
Her Ladyship, the Mayor, is ever mindful of her voting bloc. Madam Mayor should be reminded that the elderly and disabled have taxpayer-paid health insurance, taxpayer-subsidized prescriptions, numerous tax breaks, and senior citizen’s lunch discounts. The working poor in this town (i.e. prison guards) have only an illusion of health insurance and no AARP-mediated benefits. If the mayor wants to run a charity…she should do so from her church.
What about the worker in a $20,000 home (he could sell it for $10,000) paying an extra $22 per year to a city with a mirage of city services, a decaying infrastructure, and a bloated administration? What about his minimum wage “fixed income?”
Lest the mayor and friends say, “$22 is not much,” let them pay the workers’ taxes. Better, if “it’s not much” then the city can live without it. Ms. Stafford and her gang are too far removed from having real jobs to understand what it’s like to be a serf.
Serfs will donate about three more hours of sweat to feed The Beast. That’s three hours less with one’s family. It’s about two days worth of food for a family of four. Ms. Stafford, which two days must a family fast so your senior buddies can enjoy a lifestyle they prefer and so more resident-parasites can choose to be “disabled” rather than work?
Remember, I was a doctor in this town and know the condition of the “disabled” that Stafford wishes to champion. Ms. Stafford, who’ll pay the taxes when the town’s young and able-bodied have all fled for towns without a slave labor program…designed so career politicians can be benevolent with taxpayer money.
This council has ensured that nobody will build a new home in Pecos. People will prefer to live in $10,000 shacks and surround those shacks with $75,000 in cars and trucks. Maybe we should place a city tax on cars?
This council has ensured that no business will locate in Pecos. This council will moan in absolute security that, “we can’t attract businesses to Pecos.” They’ll hold fast to pipe-dreams that Dell and GM will relocate to Pecos. “It’s not our fault,” they’ll weep.
Pecos’ small businesses will remain the same…12 Mexican restaurants and a few shops owned by septuagenarians selling goods with pictures of 1970s TV stars on the box.
The restaurants open and close to the rhythm of the tax-year and the elderly will die or move away…what then?
Finally, I foresee a coming public safety ruse. It’s an old ploy. Scare the taxpayers with statements that police protection will erode unless taxes are raised. “Drugs and gangs” will prey on helpless citizens…taxes get raised…cops get nothing…more money is poured down a bureaucrat’s rat hole or palmed off to a bureaucrat buddy needing a salary.
The truth is, cops should be paid better. But, let’s have physical fitness standards (ongoing), degree requirements, and eliminate virtually all of the “command” staff. Let’s quit buying “cop toys” (like new M-4 style AR-15 rifles that are less effective than my dad’s 30-30 but “look bad”) Six sallow, pot-bellied men with sunken chests puffing around a converted ice cream truck in black spandex ninja suits would make a real terrorist or gang member wet himself in delight. How about we buy real training instead of fielding video-trained couch commandos? Pecos or Reeves County SWAT? Tee-hee.
Cut the chief’s pay to $25,000 (a chief is a paper shuffler and should be paid less than a street cop). Eliminate command titles and salaries…and all of the secretarial staff. This is Pecos, and we’re more like Mayberry than Manhattan. We need well-paid, well-trained street patrolmen who can multi-task. More braves…fewer chiefs.
Ditto, the guys who let our infrastructure decay on their watch. Poor leadership comes with a high price. As a favor to neighboring towns, use the phrase “failure to assure proper maintenance” in their termination letters.
Ditto, the guys who let infrastructures decay on their watch. Poor leadership comes with a high price. As a favor to neighboring towns, use the phrase “failure to assure proper maintenance” in their termination letters.
Cut travel expenses, slash equipment purchases, and eliminate “wish lists.” Furlough courtiers, advisors, bureaucrats, and their secretaries. The city needs to live within an austere budget. After all, they want the serfs to live on less.
Finally, we need to give long-overdue pink slips to the mayor and city council, as well as the commissioner’s court. We need to remind this royal motley crew that we, the taxpayers, own this town and county. They get more money when we give it to them, not because they demand more! They must spend only what we give them…not a dime more.
DR. JOHN C. LIBBIE,
Library important to community
To The Editor:
The Reeves County Commissioners, with one scratch of the pen, have removed a cornerstone of the Balmorhea community. For ages, the cornerstones of communities have been churches, schools, courthouses and libraries. Maybe, for the first time in history, community leaders have decided that libraries are not worth funding. In these hard times it is understandable that cutbacks should be made, but to completely eliminate funding is wrong. A case might be made for individual communities funding their own libraries, but funding for the Reeves County Library was not eliminated. Since commissioners from all precincts have constituents in Pecos, it would have been political suicide to eliminate the Reeves County Library.
The annual budget for the Balmorhea Library is three thousands dollars, probably about what the Reeves County Golf Course spends on water in one month!
The Balmorhea Community does not ask for much from our county. In better financial times we were promised a community center. Land was appropriated, beautiful plans drawn up, and land cleared. Then hard times hit and all was forgotten. As the saying goes “you can’t miss what you never had!” The library is different because we do have it and is needed.
I enjoy reading, even at a snails pace, and have come to appreciate our repository of the world’s knowledge. The library recently bought some bilingual books for children, which will promote pride and understanding of our culture.
A petition will be started, in the hopes of restoring funding, for the Balmorhea Library. We invite all county residents to stop by, visit, and sign the petition. Hopefully, funding will be restored before the petition is presented to the commissioners.
Fellow residents, there might only be two signatures on this petition, but at least we will have stood up for what is right.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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