On international law
In his Oct. 10-11 BDN OpEd on maritime transit, Gov. Baldacci stated that the right of passage in and out of Head Harbor Passage, Canadian waters, is “guaranteed by the International Law of the Sea Convention.” He likewise stated that the Obama administration “reiterated their support for the right of innocent passage through Head Harbor Passage.”
Obviously, the governor doesn’t realize that the United States has not ratified the Law of the Sea Convention. Perhaps the Baldacci administration should do its homework before it becomes involved in international issues. And perhaps the Obama administration should educate governors who come calling, rather than elucidate platitudes that have no reality in international law.
I am an admirer of Dr. Erik Steele, but I have to take issue with his Oct. 6 column on same-sex marriage.
His conclusion that “rights such as access to civil marriage for gays are as American as apple pie” is flawed. It is not a matter of “rights” if the definition of marriage is the union of one man and one woman because the union of two people of the same sex does not meet that definition.
Harping on people being denied their rights in this case makes no sense. If people wish to make the argument that the definition of marriage should be changed, that would be a different issue, but until such change occurs, the rights of gays are not being denied because at present no such right exists.
Backs Sen. Snowe
I have seen several letters criticizing Sen. Olympia Snowe for “not looking after our interests” in regard to health care and insurance reform. Many, likely most, are deciding what they think the reform should be based on sound bites rather than taking the time to do their own research on this extremely complex subject.
I know for a fact that Sen. Snowe and her staff have put a great deal of time into this research. Last May, Sens. Snowe, Dick Durbin and Blanche Lincoln introduced a bill that would create health options for small businesses and the self-employed, which Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Mike Michaud also supported.
I have also seen Sen. Snowe participating in Senate Finance Committee meetings, arguing against rushing to meet short-term time frames just to get any kind of health bill passed. Whatever is passed will not take effect until 2013. Isn’t it worth taking the time to pass a better bill than one hastily put together?
Just because Sen. Snowe does not share your opinion of how reform should happen does not mean she is not working tirelessly for all Mainers on this issue, and has been for the past several years. Call her office and express your opinion on what you would like to see in the reforms, but do not accuse her of not looking after our interests just because her opinion differs from yours.
Jo Ann Higgins
It is tragic that President Barack Obama has elected to intensify the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially through airstrikes. These clumsy, deadly acts are killing far more innocents than enemies. In July 2009, Brookings Institution scholar Daniel Byman noted that unmanned drone aircraft, whose use Obama has ex-panded, are killing 10 civilians for every one enemy fighter. That is not only plain murder, but it makes for no-win strategic math.
As counterterrorism expert David Kilcullen has said, “When we intervene in people’s countries to chase small cells of bad guys, we end up alienating the whole country and turning them against us.” Then the whole country is the enemy. Then we start killing everyone we see. And then we have become the bad guys.
Starting right now, we should withdraw our forces from Afghanistan — or is its new name Vietnamistan? Our military people are killing and dying to no purpose, no gain. Enough is enough.