Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016

An Old Woman

I have parking privileges in the heart of downtown — an outdoor slot, next to a dumpster, off an alley, convenient for my work but otherwise not so special and somewhat isolated.

Earlier this week when I went to my car to go home for lunch, there was an elderly white woman combing through the dumpster. In her 70s, maybe, slight, wearing a knee-length beige coat, long white hair swept up from her face. She was startled, seemed embarrassed and asked me if I knew there were different kinds of hollies.

She’s “The Madwoman of Chaillot” without the hat, I thought, and I assumed the holly branch she held came from the dumpster. Then I noticed a nondescript, older dark sedan slowly coming down the alley with a middle-age, husky black man behind the wheel. He slowed to a stop after he’d passed the woman, reversed his car and moved back toward her.

I wasn’t sure if he’d seen me and thought of various possibilities, not all comforting, the main one being that this man was probably a security officer who would move the old lady on or even arrest her. When he'd reached her and stopped, he lowered his passenger window, said nothing, leaned over and extended a 20 dollar bill.

Startled again, she protested, “I’m not here for that.” Then she paused, leaned forward, took the 20 and added, with a deep look of gratitude, “But thank you so much.”

Made my day; may have made my month, even this month.

Camille Hope,

Macon

Battlefield protocol

It is gratifying to read that the Department of Defense general counsels, legal specialists and law professors are helping the Pentagon tighten the rules on combat in order to protect civilians. These include mechanics, food workers, oil tanker drivers, individuals who accompany terrorists and those individuals working in arms factories.

They want our legal guidance to be clear and practical. They want to be sure our military commanders are in compliance with the international laws of war before they fire on a military target.

One of their major concerns are the individuals located in residential neighborhoods, hospitals and schools that are used as safe havens by terrorists so they can fire rockets into civilian neighborhoods or shoot at our troops. Another one of their concerns is to protect journalists working in battlefield areas.

I know our combat troops are thankful that these conscientious, dedicated bureaucrats are expending an effort to ensure that our Law of War Manual is accurate and does not misrepresent the law of armed conflict.

I am sure they are confident that if our field commanders obey these politically correct rules of engagement the terrorists will, too. I believe our troops realize how important it is for journalists to have free access so they can set up their equipment and ask pertinent questions.

Our military personnel understand how important it is for those at home to know how they feel after an IED has killed their teammates.

I do not understand the principle of proportionality. That is: Civilians can be killed but only if the anticipated collateral damage is proportionate to a legitimate military objective. Do these safe at home, non-combatants want a solider being shot at to call a general, who will ask a lawyer, if it is OK for the solider to return fire? Our troops must be able to determine the difference between involuntary human shields and voluntary human shields, before they return fire.

I would not be surprised that at some time in the not too distant future a terrorist group will file a complaint to the U.N. that our troops are not fighting fairly. And I would not be surprised if our leaders do not consent for our troops to be tried by the World Court.

I believe we are now at the point where protecting our troops and winning is not as important as how the world perceives us.

Jim Costello,

Perry

Game score

I know there was a high school all-star game played last Saturday between the east and west. I have not seen any reviews on how the game turned out. It was an an important game to me, because we had a few Dodge County players on the team. I believe it should have been a write-up on the game either on Sunday or Monday.

Now if I missed it, I am sorry. I do believe I saw something in the paper earlier in the week or on the TV, but I didn’t even hear anything on TV about the results of the game. Thank you for any update on this that you can give the readers of this paper.

Robert White,

Dodge County football fan,

Eastman

New ground

Donald Trump is breaking new ground. He is appointing people to positions of power and influence who actually know how to get things done. How refreshing.

Jerry Norris,

Warner Robins

Political hot potato

I am not sure where Ronald Cain got his information where he stated “the Social Security Trust Fund is fully funded through 2033.” According to the Social Security Trustee Report of 2016, that does not align with the facts.

Laurence Kotlikoff, professor of economics at Boston University, said, “Let me tell the press what they will find if they care to do their job and look at Table Vl.F1 They will learn that Social Security, according to the system’s own actuaries, is now $32 trillion in the red! The $32 trillion is the present value difference between all the system’s projected future benefit payments less the sum of a) all its projected future taxes and b) its current almost $3 trillion trust fund.

“We economists call this measure Social Security’s ‘infinite horizon fiscal gap.’ Last year, the Trustees reported a fiscal gap of $26 trillion. So the system’s fiscal gap grew by $6 trillion over the past year, i.e., Social Security ran a $6 trillion deficit!”

Here is the link: www.ssa.gov/oact/tr/2016/VI_F_infinite.html

Over the last four decades the U.S. government spent over $3 trillion from the Social Security trust fund. There are also dozens of pension funds across the United States collectively underfunded by over $1 trillion. This political hot potato, when approached, draws the ire of many.

Kathy Solomon,

Perry

Anybody?

I have been reading The Telegraph for over 35 years and I have been wondering about something.

Does anyone actually read the Aces on Bridge and/or the Horoscope features? I’d like to ask WMAZ-TV the same question about their “Mayberry” re-runs.

Jerry Norris,

Warner Robins

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