Saturday, May 24, 2014: Maine Army National Guard, Rep. Andrea Boland, John Kerry’s words

Posted May 23, 2014, at 9:21 a.m.

Maine Army National Guard

Here we go again — politics as usual. The Army has proposed to send the 133rd Engineer Battalion to Pennsylvania with 550 troops in exchange for an infantry battalion of 300 troops. This is a net loss of 250 troops and their payroll. As a former member of this battalion and the State Recruiting and Retention Team, I know how expensive this would be, not only in loss of personnel but millions of dollars in payroll and jobs.

In the early 1990s, Maine had 3,250 enlisted personnel, including officers, with an annual payroll of $40 million. The current strength is around 2,200 total — a loss of a thousand personnel. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize one-third of the payroll is gone.

I hope Gov. Paul LePage has the fortitude to refuse to let this happen. He has the last word. The final analysis will be that the Rest and Recuperation team will have a hard job filling an infantry battalion with a further loss of payroll.

Edward L. Davis

East Orland

Vote Boland

I can’t think of a better person to run for a seat in the Senate than Rep. Andrea Boland, D-Sanford. She is a member of the Maine Clean Elections, which means she doesn’t receive money from corporations. Her voting would not be influenced by “Big Business.”

I would like to publicly thank her for being so courageous in helping protect the citizens of Maine against cell phone radiation. She was the first legislator in the U.S. to sound the alarm on the dangers of cell phones in 2009, when she was a state representative. She was on the ball with studies showing a link with brain cancer and mobile phones way before the World Health Organization made the carcinogen announcement in 2011.

I have a personal story to tell because my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and his physician questioned his cell phone use as a possible cause. I have seen the harm brain cancer can do and wouldn’t want others to suffer a horrible illness, especially one that could be prevented. Through this, Boland has shown she is a leader and cares for Maine people.

Kristen Cobb

Portland

Use of ‘apartheid’

I wish to respond to Gwynne Dyer’s May 5 OpEd about Secretary of State John Kerry’s use of the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel.

As President Barack Obama stated in 2008, “There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues … but injecting a term like apartheid … [is] emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe.”

The Israeli government supports a two-state solution. In fact, it is successive Palestinian leaders who have rejected numerous offers of statehood. President Bill Clinton blamed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the breakdown in the talks.

In 2008, Ehud Olmert offered sweeping concessions to Mahmoud Abbas, who did not even respond to his offer.

This past March, Abbas did not respond to Obama’s plan for a two-state solution.

Dyer also stated, “Palestinian inhabitants are effectively controlled by the Israeli government.” This is also not true. About 98 percent of Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank live under the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority. All of Gaza is controlled by Hamas.

It’s clear Dyer is biased and picks his “facts” to make Israel look bad. Palestinians are truly suffering in Syria, where they are starving in the Yarmouk refugee camp. In Lebanon, basic human rights are denied to Palestinians, where the army restricts the Palestinians in refugee camps with curfews and military checkpoints. Meanwhile, walls are being constructed to isolate the Palestinians.

If Dyer is sincerely concerned about human rights, he should look closely at the countries surrounding Israel. He will not find free elections, freedom of speech or religion.

Paul Shapero

Bangor

 

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