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LETTERS for June 13 issue

June 13, 2013
Lahaina News

Government has many failures of care

Regarding the letter "Government fails to care for its veterans" by John Bury, government fails to care for very many things, and veterans are just one of the multiple failures of care.

Out of 13 budget departments of the federal government, one, Defense, takes up half of the remaining 12 departments.

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This is unbalanced in disfavor for medical programs, housing, employment, veterans, etc.

DR. GEORG WOODMAN

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Country shouldn't clamp down on student visas

Now that we're in the throes of immigration reform while living with the threat posed by rogue refugees in the wake of the Boston bombing, we need to recognize the positive contributions to our society of not only the millions of immigrants who make up the fabric of our society, but also the thousands of international students who enrich our lives.

Three friends of the alleged bombers are facing federal charges of trying to hide evidence after the explosions, and one of those three was recently allowed to reenter the U.S. on a student visa, even though he was no longer attending college.

This has sparked calls for a clampdown on student visas, despite the fact that the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth had acted correctly and informed the Department of Homeland Security that he was no longer a student.

The federal government has already acted to tighten oversight to help ensure that foreign students seeking to enter the U.S. have valid student visas. The heightened scrutiny by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is effective immediately.

Border agents will also have better and faster access to computerized databases that track the status of student visas, like SEVIS - the Student Exchange and Visitors Information System - which was mandated by the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

These actions are appropriate, and lawmakers must stand up against fear mongers calling for more restrictions on student visas.

Back in 2001, hasty reports soon established in the public mindset that student visas were terrorists' preferred method of entering the U.S., although only one of the 19 hijackers came to the U.S. on a student visa. The rest arrived on tourist or business visas.

Just this year, lawmakers from both parties, including Janet Napolitano and Marco Rubio, and on both sides of the immigration debate have falsely claimed that "some" or "all" of the 9/11 hijackers were in the U.S. on student visas.

It's important for us to put the record straight, stress the positive contribution of students from outside our borders, and make our student visa system work efficiently.

If we place more restrictions on students entering the country, they'll be rubbing their hands together with glee in other countries.

The undoubted star of last month's Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles was Britain's ex-prime minister, Tony Blair - no mean feat, considering the competition included the two richest men in the world, Carlos Slim and Bill Gates, as well as Al Gore, Magic Johnson, Rupert Murdoch, Antonio Villaraigosa, Eric Cantor, Geena Davis, Wayne Gretzky and Jimmy Connors.

One of Blair's recurring themes during the conference was the value of international educational exchanges.

Now, Blair, as we all remember, was George W. Bush's closest ally in the post 9/11 "War Against Terror."

But during his candid interview with Michael Milken, he revealed his opportunism, admitting that the U.K. had been "a major beneficiary" of the U.S. policy to clamp down on student visas despite pressure to follow the American example.

His thinking was that "because they [the U.S.] are going to keep out a lot of people that would enormously enrich American universities if they allowed them in, so let's take them. They [the Americans] are our allies and we love them, but if they're going to go down that path, let's be beneficiaries of that. I think the world today works by connectivity, and the key thing is for people to have an open mind. When you get smart people coming in and studying at our universities, we're building up relationships; we're building up connections that are going to be hugely important to my country in the future."

The world today does work by connectivity, so let's make sure that America doesn't lose any more of the connections that are going to be so important to our future prosperity, health, and security.

DANIEL WARD, Los Angeles, California

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Crazy Kim and the 'Tippy Twos'

Kim Jong Un certainly seems crazy. But sound mind isn't a requirement for predictable action.

Tyrants often mask steady goals with wild behavior. One need only think of world pests like Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein to realize entire regions can be thrust into unwanted global crises.

Like Castro and Saddam, Kim Jong Un has made clear he's dedicated to expanding his ability to harm America and her allies.

The difference is, he has a nuclear capability, not a borrowed or boasted one. North Korea has a proven record of long-range missile development that could ultimately hit the American Mainland.

North Korea can already hit our bases abroad, our trading partners and our allies.

Worse still, it's exporting this technology to other friendly loons in the Middle East.

Not to respond is dangerous. Not to understand the growing threat is disastrous.

Regarding the current danger with North Korea, it comes as no surprise that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel chose to deploy the "Army Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance" (AN/TPY-2) radar to the Japanese mainland.

Also known as the "Tippy Two," this radar outpost is part of a broader strategy to better protect against the growing missile threat posed by Kim Jong Un.

The Tippy Two is the most advanced mobile radar system on the planet.

Right now, there aren't enough Tippy Twos. Eight are already in use. To our enemies, it's a powerful deterrent.

Simply put, the U.S. needs to manufacture more Tippy Twos by sticking to a commitment already made back in 2011.

Defense officials can do it. The plans are there to expand the Tippy Two supply to a size proportional to the global rogue-missile threat.

The 2011 federal budget included production plans for 18 new Tippy Twos. In 2012, however, amid growing fiscal discipline calls, federal officials scaled back that order to 11.

The order was then bumped up to 12 by Congress. That total still isn't nearly enough.

STEVE RUSSELL, Chairman, Vets for Victory

 
 

 

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