Editor of the Reformer:
Tuesday's article "Proposed indictment elicits wrath" (Jan. 29 Reformer) focused on the hate mail. However, readers should realize that a significant positive reaction also exists. The Common Dreams online news service ran an article on the resolution for its hundreds of thousands readers nationwide, and the responses were overwhelmingly supportive and congratulatory.
There is growing and almost irrefutable evidence that Bush and Cheney have committed numerous serious crimes. They have admitted to violating American law with illegal wiretaps, they have violated international law with an illegal invasion of another country (based on 935 instances of false statements to the American public), and they have evidently committed war crimes by illegally sanctioning torture. They are still disregarding laws as passed by Congress, deciding for themselves what is to be executed and what is to be ignored. The list of scandals, cover-ups and criminal behavior to which we've been subjected over the past seven years is painfully long.
This is a presidency run amok. We are a nation of a Constitution and laws, and no one is above those laws. This guiding principal has been re-affirmed numerous times. Except now. The prescribed methods of addressing the current torrent of criminal activity are not being followed. Many feel, therefore, that it is the responsibility of citizens of this country to find ways for accountability.
The indictment resolution is one way to attempt to get at this beast. It breaks new ground, so of course one can claim that its language doesn't fully hold up to legal scrutiny, yet as an advisory, it allows for a wide range of legal options after it is passed. It is necessary for us citizens to go into such uncharted territory and to state loud and clear to ourselves, to other towns around the nation, and to the international community: This is not what Americans believe in, this is not what Brattleboro and Windham County believe in; we do not accept it, and we demand accountability, one way or another. This is one way.
Regardless of the hate mail, this resolution has been commanding respect far and wide. The New York Times gave it very high profile coverage, with a full-page headline that respectfully invited further thought. And there are reports that people in dozens of cities and towns across the nation are now considering similar steps, often citing Brattleboro as their model.
These are critical times for our nation. Bold steps are required. We can be proud that our region is once again at the forefront of critical issues of the day. Let us keep that momentum going. We are not ashamed of our town, as some would suggest, but rather we will hold our heads high with pride as this resolution is passed, and it will help to keep the necessary national conversations on the table during the current crisis of assault on our Constitution.
Guilford, Jan. 30
Indictment proposal seen as an insult
Editor of the Reformer:
As a native born and educated Vermonter I was appalled when I read the article titled "Brattleboro to Vote on Arresting Bush, Cheney" in a local paper. I wasn't surprised by the nature of the headline, but rather the way that Kurt Daims nonchalantly throws around the charge of war crimes. There are two main reasons that I, in particular, have a huge problem with this.
First is that I am a two-tour Iraq veteran, who served with both honor and dignity and did so proudly. When someone accuses George W. Bush of war crimes you are, in essence, saying that the troops on the ground are responsible for carrying out these crimes. Mr. Daims then incorrectly states that the "latest count" showed a total of 600,000 persons dead because of the war. However, the most recent, accurate assessment was done by the WHO (World Health Organization) and to date is the most comprehensive and precise study. It states that approximately 151,000 have died. I in no way believe that this lesser number makes the losses acceptable, but the study Mr. Daims cited is a Johns Hopkins University study that was based primarily on speculation and second hand information. Saying that U.S. military personnel are responsible for perpetuating egregious war crimes is not only offensive to me and any fellow service members, but is utterly ridiculous as well. I suggest that if Mr. Daims wants to throw around accusations of that magnitude, that he get his facts straight first.
Second, I think it is irresponsible for the Brattleboro Selectboard to waste taxpayer's money and time by acknowledging a derisory proposition such as this. I understand that people want change in America, and I have nothing against speaking ones mind. However I was always taught that opinions should be well thought out and people who speak them should be well informed. Mr. Daims appears to be less interested in actually accomplishing anything constructive, and most interested in snagging the occasional headline. Unfortunately he has grabbed those headlines at a cost. He (and the Selectboard, by passing it to a vote), have alienated and insulted many veterans and native-born Vermont patriots. They have put Vermont on the national map as a collection of hate spewing political ignoramuses.
As a college student, currently residing in South Carolina, I loathe hearing people here talking about the "crazies up north" in my home state. I am hopeful that other native Vermonters will show their disgust at the polls and bury this item with a slew of "no" votes.
Cpl. Ryan Murphy,
Springfield, Jan. 30
'Brattleboro three' disturbing, embarrassing
Editor of the Reformer:
When I was a young man growing up in this fine nation, I was always told, "Anyone can grow up to be president." Well, after this pathetically absurd, and publicly embarrassing vote by the new "Brattleboro Three" (of our local Selectboard), I have tossed that notion right out the window.
I don't know if these three, who have outraged many within the town, can ever get it through their highly liberal and certainly politically unsavvy heads to stop wasting this community's time and efforts with foolishness? These people were asked to lead Brattleboro. Is this how we are repaid, with such nonsense?
It seems like for all the talking these three did during their election times, they have forgotten the basic fundamental points of politics -- smarts. We, as townspeople, put our trust in them to make solid, socially responsible decisions. Instead, we circle back to the same rhetoric and politically empty behavior as in the past. Is the town getting any better? Are the problems the same? Are important issues being addressed (such as employment opportunities, property taxes and the desire to attract new business to Brattleboro)? It makes me want to scream, "When will this garbage stop?"
Do you think anyone in the White House staff in the final years of a second Republican administration is honestly going to give a hoot in hell about an impeachment order or amendment from a town staff that could barely come together on any simple issue.
In a case such as an "Impeachment Amendment," why was this not put out at a bigger public forum? It would seem to me that such a big and powerful message would have more meaning coming from the many and not the three.
Michael Walter Tudda,
Brattleboro, Jan. 29
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.