Letters to the editor

In his commentary favoring "salvage logging" in the Big Butte watershed northeast of Medford, Ed Kupillas repeatedly invokes the bizarre specter of "trees on the ground, rotting away." To people of any scientific literacy, these "rotting" trees are critical elements of forest recovery. In fact, the absence of large, downed wood is a key impact of logging, and undermines industry attempts to rhetorically mask their operations in nature's likeness.

This is widely known to biologists, but industry and BLM under the Bush administration demand their "salvage" logging anyway, keeping science gagged and marginalized. Despite Kupillas' hand-waving, anonymous reference to a "preponderance of scientific evidence," industry cannot cite, after years of debate, a single peer-reviewed study showing any ecological benefit from salvage logging. KS Wild, by contrast, cites specific studies on the harm of salvage logging, including a recent product of OSU's Forestry School that BLM infamously attempted to terminate when its results became displeasing.

Most damning, however, is Kupillas' reference to "fanaticism for preserving all old growth." In his alternate universe, industry has not already destroyed most of Oregon's pre-settlement old-growth life, leaving just a sliver's shadow. True industry fanatics like Kupillas and BLM demand every last stand. — Jim Steitz, Ashland

The media proclaims "U.S. now winning Iraq war that seemed lost." What does "winning" this war mean? Apparently nothing more than a reduction in violence.

Surely no one really expected a country comprising three tribes that have always fought each other and whose social structure is based on tribal/family loyalty to suddenly reinvent themselves into a Western-style democracy?

Gen. Petraeus, our top commander in Iraq, recently reported to The Associated Press that there are early indications that senior leaders of al-Qaida may be considering shifting their main focus to the war in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden has been forgotten and opium production in Afghanistan has reached the point where supply exceeds demand.

Meanwhile, the contrived "war" in Iraq, based on lies, has left over 4,000 American soldiers dead, and several times that many physically and psychologically devastated. The number with traumatic, but invisible, brain injuries is unknown. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead or maimed, but we don't count them (because they are "not us?"). There are countless suicides, broken families, ruined lives.

The cost, human and otherwise, will haunt us for generations. The carnage is appalling! It won't be easy to remember that we are "winning." — Susan Bauer, Medford

Member of Congress, I hope you are enjoying your August vacation. Here is your homework assignment:

In the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act there are several amendments that need to be added:

  • In the Senate, Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) amendment to expand eligibility for concurrent receipt payments.
  • Sen. Saxby Chambliss' (R-Ga.) amendment to provide fairer retirement credit for Guard and Reserve members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • In the House, Rep. Jim Marshall's (D-Ga.) HR 333 would accomplish the following left uncorrected by the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act — HR 333 would extend the benefits of CRDP (Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay) to some 375,000 retired career veterans who are rated less than 50 percent disabled by the VA.

Also, Congress has yet to do anything concerning the high cost of gasoline that affects all Americans.

Congress must pass legislation to provide assurance that the congressional "no-drill" moratorium will not be renewed on short notice.

Congress must pass legislation to ease environmental constraints (you allowed them to be waived for the border fence) for both nuclear- and coal-fired new power plants, new refineries and permit drilling of ANWR, Otero Mesa and the continental shelf. — Ronald L. Ross, Gold Hill, retired CWO3 U.S. Army

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