Addiction is good! "You are kidding," some might say. Look at the immense personal and social destruction caused by various addictions such as alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling and the inability to thoughtfully consider any ideas except a narrow dogma. Simply put, addictions are deeply ingrained programs that take over our ability to think clearly and exercise free choice in our behavior. How can that be good for anyone? Who could possibly benefit from addictions?

Damian Mann's Jan. 16 story clarifies this puzzle through a quote from the Radio Ink marketing magazine. The quote is by Radio Talk Network CEO Mark Masters. "I want somebody who can perform emotional and intellectual acupuncture on a listener, in such a way that they become addictive."

Push in the needle, insert the addictive influence, reduce the ability to resist compulsion, create addiction, and profit from it. Could it be any clearer that addiction is good ... good for the pusher? — C.A. Moore, Medford

The column by Carl Leubsdorf in the Jan. 21 Mail Tribune praises the actions of George H.W. Bush in the Gulf War and contrasts them with the blunders of his son in Iraq later. A lot of what Leubsdorf says is true, and certainly the elder Bush was far more competent than his son, but I think the whitewash goes too far.

I believe G.H.W. Bush did two things that have contributed to unrest in Iraq and problems around the world.

First, he stationed troops in Saudi Arabia, the Holy Land of Muslims. That infuriated the Muslim right wing and may have brought on 9/11. Next, he gave the impression that he was going to invade Iraq and encouraged anti-Saddam people to rebel. Some of them did, especially the Kurds, and this led to the claim by George W. that Saddam "bombed his own people."

The elder Bush was certainly better than his son, but they both caused enormous problems. — Walt Marsh, Ashland

As the evidence mounts that only America's social safety net kept millions more from falling into poverty and exacerbating the crash, and as China increases its assistance, the Republicans are intent on slashing ours and redistributing America's wealth upward.

As the Chinese implemented a huge stimulus in the face of the world economic meltdown the Republicans vilified President Obama for our much smaller program. As we cut investment in alternative energy to "drill baby drill," the Chinese are now leading the world in the development of wind and solar energy. I'm afraid our leaders' backward-looking governance puts our country at a severe disadvantage in the face of China's advancements. — Doyle Powell, Phoenix

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