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LETTERS for September 14 issue

By Staff | Sep 14, 2017

Support the arts in Hawaii

Thirty days after Trump took office, by executive order, he eliminated federal funding to the National Endowment for the Arts.

We ask that you e-mail our Hawaii U.S. senators to have federal funding appropriated again to the National Endowment for the Arts.

The arts are the foundation of Hawaii’s community. They also play a vital role in our economy.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress as a control of arts funding and spending, as well as for world awareness of the arts in America.



Large nations change the climate, and small islands pay

Some 10,000 people in the Pacific nation of Tuvalu are facing a threat many Americans have never fathomed: their land could soon be underwater. Tuvalu is not alone. Island nations around the world are at risk of their economies – and lands – washing away. Worse, they’ve had no say in the matter. They account for less than 1 percent of the world population and produce less than 1 percent of the greenhouse gases generated by humans.

It’s unjust to force small island nations to pay for the climate sins of the developed world. Rich countries created this mess. They’re the only ones who can prevent a looming humanitarian and economic catastrophe in small-island states.

A surge in global temperatures has led to a rise in sea levels – particularly near island nations. Many nations in the Western Pacific are seeing 12-millimeter increases annually – about four times the global average. French Polynesia and New Caledonia could be submerged within a century. Tropical cyclones, floods and chronic droughts are also increasingly common for island nations.

These effects of climate change strain the island economies dependent on tourism. If the sea level rises 50 centimeters in Grenada, nearly two-thirds of beaches will disappear. Grenada is already expecting to spend up to $1.1 billion – about 100 percent of its GDP – over the next 30 years repairing resorts. In Puerto Rico, rising sea levels and extreme weather could lead to $1 billion in lost tourism revenue every year by 2100. Barbados expects to spend up to $368 million annually by 2050 rebuilding tourism facilities destroyed by climate change.

Climate change also threatens island nations’ ability to feed themselves. In Fiji, droughts and diminished soil fertility could cost the country up to $52 million per year by 2050.

Island nations aren’t waiting for the developed world to bail them out. Some are considering systems of concrete blocks to protect coastal areas from larger waves, or constructing agricultural systems more resilient to extreme weather. It’s bad enough that these nations are suffering the consequences of a crisis they did little to create.

They shouldn’t have to respond to that crisis alone. The developed world must do its part. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries have committed to a long-term global temperature goal of keeping warming below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. But many countries have not sufficiently committed to reducing their own emissions. The next round of emissions-reductions contributions from major emitters, due in 2020, must be much stronger. The developed world also needs to meet its stated goal of providing at least $100 billion annually by 2020 to assist developing countries to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of climate change.

The short-term effects of climate change might seem minor to the largest, wealthiest countries. However, without aggressive action, global warming could leave many island economies – and nations – submerged.

HUGH SEALY, St. George’s University


Afghanistan – The end is not in sight

October will mark the 16th year since President George W. Bush announced the first strikes against Afghanistan. In June 2010, we surpassed Vietnam as the longest conflict in U.S. history.

President Obama ended the combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014. But the U.S. and Afghanistan governments reached an agreement to keep some American troops in the country even after the combat mission ended. Coalition troops remain in the country as well.

Three presidents now have their hands tied to Afghanistan. President George W. Bush addressed the nation from the White House to announce the first airstrikes in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001. Obama made major prime-time addresses to announce both troop build-ups and withdrawals, and President Donald Trump used his first prime-time address from the White House to speak about the war.

The number of troops serving in Afghanistan has been approximately 8,400. We are going to extend that number past 12,000.

We have lost 2,403 soldiers in Afghanistan. 2010 was the deadliest year, losing 499 U.S. soldiers and 711 total coalition forces killed. By comparison, 4,523 U.S. troops have been killed since the Iraq war began in 2003.

The citizens of Afghanistan have paid a heavy price. Tens of thousands are thought to have died since 2001. The United Nations recently reported that 3,498 Afghan civilians were killed in 2016 alone and 7,920 were injured, making it the deadliest year for civilian casualties since he U.N. began counting in 2009. At the half-year mark of 2017 in July, there had been 1,662 deaths and 3,581 injured.

Brown University has a Cost of War Project. The group estimates the total cost of the war to be $783 billion through Fiscal Year 2016. That sum swells to $1.8 trillion when factoring in long-term spending like veterans’ care and interest on debt, researchers found.

When will it end? President Trump said he does not want to nation build but only stay long enough to eliminate the terrorists. If this is the plan, then I don’t think we will ever leave Afghanistan.

There are always new terrorists being raised up. Children are being taught by ISIS and the Taliban to hate America, Christian nations and countries where women and people are treated equally.

Now you know why you can’t have your full Social Security retirement check at 65. Your money is going elsewhere and will be for a long time… probably forever.

Will our war in Afghanistan ever end? The end is not in sight.