LETTERS

Thursday, March 20, 2014: Iraq invasion, preventing drug overdoses, mining rules

Posted March 19, 2014, at 1:02 p.m.

Bridge for peace

On March 19, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq. The U.S. had already invaded Afghanistan, where troops still remain.

A group of Aroostook County people, who opposed the war and its cost and waste in lives and resources, immediately began a weekly protest on the Aroostook River bridge in Presque Isle, part of the Bridges for Peace movement.

This March 19 marked the end of the 11th full year of war protests on the bridge. Rain or shine or snow, heat or cold, and always wind, a group has been there to exercise its right to speak out against government folly. Through declarations of victory and success, through increasing body counts, through surges and other policy fiascoes, the group on the bridge has been a consistent voice against the folly of war.

Consider the costs. These figures are for the U.S. only: over 6,650 soldiers killed in combat; 3,000 civilian contractors killed; 106,000 wounded, injured or sick; about $4 trillion spent, including projected benefits to disabled and other veterans; 671,000 veteran disability claims approved, as of August 2012.

And what has the U.S. gained for all this loss? What has anyone gained?

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not over. They continue to be waged at great cost to the people of this country (and certainly the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan), costs that will continue for many decades in caring for soldiers physically and psychologically wounded by these wars.

We do not celebrate our 11 years on the bridge, but we do honor the commitment to peace and nonviolence of the many who have participated in the protests over the last 11 years.

We invite you to join us noon-1 p.m. Sunday, March 23, on the Aroostook River bridge in Presque Isle, to mark the 11th anniversary of this bridge for peace.

Steve DeMaio

Easton

Kill bill LD 1772

Metallic mining operations can only degrade the beauty of Maine’s wilderness. One question begs to be asked: Who profits?

Do Maniacs own these companies that wish to degrade the purity of Maine’s streams and lakes? I don’t doubt that the answer to the question is a resounding no.

More importantly, can they replace the natural resources that are extracted, as does for example a program in Canada where for every tree that is harvested, a new seedling must be planted? In one summer alone, my daughter planted 64,000 new seedlings in British Columbia.

What do the metallic mining corporations put back into the good earth except toxic tailings?

Save Maine’s natural resources, which should not be equated with S&P offerings by a conglomerate in Chicago. Kill bill LD 1772.

For us who live here, this is a no brainer unless you are a bought-and-paid-for politician.

John D. Hamilton

Corinth

Drug fight

If Gov. Paul LePage wants to fight drug abuse in Maine, he should support addiction treatment rather than increased law enforcement.

Over the last 40 years, increased enforcement of drug laws has resulted in millions of people incarcerated at a cost of billions to taxpayers, yet drug use is rampant.

Jim Alciere

East Machias

More fracking?

I am writing to express my concerns about the way events in the Ukraine appear to lend themselves to increased pressure for ever more production of propane gas in the U.S. and Europe. This, of course, implies more fracking and less chance of appropriate regulation for an industry already exempt in this country from some standard environmental regulations.

In my view, it would be a grave error to operate as though increased regulation of fracking would reduce the power of the United States and its allies to counter Russian aggression in the Ukraine. Yet news sources hint at this view.

I ask lawmakers to find another path, one that insists on the establishment and enforcement of stringent measures to protect the health and environment of residents in this country while simultaneously moving to promote political stability, peace and plenty worldwide.

I believe the security of the United States ultimately is best preserved through a populace that is healthy and well-educated. Sacrificing our environment for political power would be an error from which we might never recover.

Kay Levine

Sullivan

Support LD 1686

Maine has a unique opportunity to help prevent fatal drug overdoses. I support a measure in the state Legislature because I do not want any more families to have to live the unthinkable.

Envision the unthinkable. Five years ago this month, my wife, Kathy, and I lost our first-born son, Will, to a heroin overdose. He was 21 years old and in his third year as a molecular genetics major at the University of Vermont. He was an alpine ski racer who graduated from CVA and was offered a presidential scholarship to attend UVM. Not a day goes by that we don’t wonder how things could have been different had someone nearby had access to the life-saving drug naloxone.

LD 1686, An Act to Address Preventable Deaths from Drug Overdose, would put this medication into more hands. Attorney General Eric Holder urged all first responders to carry the drug during his March 10 address. Naloxone is an anti-opioid that can reverse an opiate overdose. Studies in California and Massachusetts suggest that the unpleasantness of a naloxone reversal actually increases the chance that an addict will enter rehab.

The FDA is considering making naloxone available over the counter. Holder stated that naloxone has saved over 10,000 lives since 2001. He also spoke in support of The Opiate Effect, available at https://vimeo.com/41741770, a short documentary based on William’s death.

Please urge lawmakers to support this vital measure.

Henry Gates

Skowhegan

Election stunt

Appearing on the front page of the March 12 edition of the BDN was an article that stated, “Making Maine a right-to-work state has been at the center of LePage’s aspirations since he came into office.”

Additional statements in the article support the idea that Gov. Paul LePage has endeavored to see right-to-work legislation previously. To date, he has been unsuccessful in that effort.

The governor’s initiative began back in 2011. Why, then, is the question asked if what the governor has consistently proposed is an “election stunt”? Does that make any sense?

Brian Dobbs

Cushing

 

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