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Ducking responsibility

EDITOR: Harry Truman said it plain and simple: "The buck stops here!"

Nowadays, accepting accountability comes in a new package. It begins with the requisite: "I accept full responsibility for what happened." That's followed by "but the word never reached my desk. Some senior people reporting to me are the ones that screwed up, and they've been replaced. So let's put all this behind us, and move on."

This was the gist of our secretary of state's latest statement on the Benghazi affair. Her position closely parallels that of the attorney general, who last year similarly denied any awareness of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' mishandling of Operation Fast and Furious, which led to the killing of a U.S. border agent.

For those in power who find ways to deflect their accountability for mistakes or oversights, Truman also offered some sage advice: "If it gets too hot in the kitchen, get out!"



Reason to believe

EDITOR: As a Santa Rosa City Council candidate in the November election, and as an applicant for the Council seat vacancy, I want to congratulate Robin Swinth on her appointment.

Whether you agree with the council's decision or not, the decision has been made. So now, we, as Santa Rosans, have two choices. We can second-guess the council for its decision, criticize her political views and create an environment that sets her up to fail. Or we can be supportive of her willingness to serve the people of Santa Rosa, engage in discussions with her to get to know her and make resources available to help her succeed.

I have reason to believe that the second option is in the best interest of Santa Rosa. We need to focus more on what we as a community share in common and focus less on our differences.

It is unfair and unproductive to make judgments on her appointment even before she is sworn in to office. She has my support, and I hope the community will come together and support her also. Let's give her a chance to give us a reason to believe in Santa Rosa leadership again.

I believe.


Santa Rosa

Women in combat

EDITOR: Notwithstanding recent kumbaya pieces in The Press Democrat hailing women in combat, such viewpoints come from an obtuse prospective.

In a swan song, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta put his imprimatur on this divisive issue. The old California liberal got in a departing zinger. He, like President Barack Obama, clearly has no affinity or regard for military unit cohesion, ergo their combined efforts to create a unisex friendly environment.

Neither has walked in the boots of soldiers, sailors or Marines, although Panetta's bio says he was a first lieutenant in military intelligence for a while (aka a pencil-pushing sycophant). The two take credit for nailing Osama bin Laden, but that decision was a no-brainer made while sitting on their best assets.

Repealing President Bill Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" and putting G.I. Jane up front is politically/socially correct nonsense that degrades military integrity and decorum.

Ultimately, while engaged in a life-or-death fire fight, should troopers have to worry about protecting Suzie Q and their backsides, too?

Right or wrong, the president and defense secretary decide when and where to deploy troops. However, strategy and personnel selection and duties should be left to the generals.


Santa Rosa

Germs at every turn

EDITOR: What's this I hear about banning plastic bags at grocery stores ("Banning bags,"Letters, Saturday)? Why, plastic is all that stands between us and the legions of germs that want to kill us! I might set my groceries down on the very same spot where someone had their filthy reusable bag, and germs will get all over the outside of my cereal boxes, soup cans and plastic bags full of produce. We need more plastic, not less.

In fact, I want extra bags around my grocery items, even if they come already wrapped in plastic; one layer is not enough to protect us. All surfaces everywhere should be disinfected with antibiotic soap, and when germs develop resistance, we will need stronger and stronger antibiotics. But wait, that's already happening.

Does anyone know where I can buy a space suit?


Santa Rosa

NRA and patriotism

EDITOR: I'm sick and tired of reading and hearing about how mean-spirited and unpatriotic members of the National Rifle Association are. There are bound to be a few sour apples in an organization that large, but most of them are patriots who love our nation and, like me, are military veterans who fought a war to defend it. The politicians trying to destroy the Second Amendment are the ones who are unpatriotic.


Santa Rosa