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Viewing Kerry's record in Vietnam and on defense

John Kerry volunteered to serve in combat during the Vietnam War. He saved a


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crewman's life while risking his own. Every one of Kerry's surviving crewmates

speak highly of his bravery, and Kerry received several combat medals for his

actions. George W. Bush avoided combat, choosing instead to attend National

Guard training whenever it was convenient.

Now comes a typical pro-Bush ad, placed by a wealthy Texas Republican, that

slurs Kerry's combat record. Republican Sen. John McCain, a highly decorated

former prisoner of war in Vietnam, calls on Bush to condemn the ad. The Bush

team refuses to criticize the ad in any way.

Joseph Spiegel

Babylon

Ross Baker's lame attempt to deny the Democratic Party's past history of

softness toward America's enemies from the Cold War to the present day, and

John Kerry's singular softness on defense in his voting record, cannot be taken

seriously \"Kerry battles unfair 'weakness' charge," Opinion, Aug. 3].

Significant elements of the Democratic Party consistently impeded our

efforts against Communist expansionism. President Ronald Reagan's successful

efforts to bring down communism were constantly impeded by left-wing Democrats.

Currently, liberal Democrats are impeding the war on terrorism in many ways,

particularly with their softness toward suspected terrorists.

The bottom line is that many in the Democratic Party cannot accept the fact

that we are at war with people whose hatred has no restraint. They have

politicized the war, despise the president, want him removed, hope things go

south in Iraq and that the economy tanks. To be them is pathetic.

Walter McCarthy

Massapequa

Wrong approach

to terrorism

Our administration's current policy that targets large segments of the

Muslim world, rather than specifically targeting Osama bin Laden and his gang

of thugs, is resulting in a like-mannered spread of terrorism.

These groups have already proved to be much more highly adaptable to

changing conditions than our government realizes, and the indiscriminate loss

of Muslim life caused by the United States within Iraq, albeit of far less

magnitude than what occurred under the Saddam Hussein regime, has served only

to multiply the hatred against our nation. Hussein may have been a bad guy, but

he was their bad guy. And just as important, he is not bin Laden. It's time

the voters of our nation realize that fact, and fire this president in November.

Leonard Cohen

Wantagh

Giving renters

fair tax break

People talk a lot about the affordable-housing problem on Long Island. The

real problem is the artificial housing shortage created by local zoning laws.

But federal and state tax laws don't help, either.

Landlords pass property taxes on to renters, but renters get none of the

tax breaks or subsidized loans available to homeowners and landlords.

Homeowners profit from the inflationary market created by these subsidies,

while renters suffer. Many homeowners get so many tax breaks that they owe no

federal taxes at all, except for the alternative minimum tax.

That's fine, but fair's fair. Renters should be able to deduct at least a

portion of their rent. This would make it a little easier for renters to save

and break into the housing market.

Spencer Segalla

Melville

Nuclear threats

on increase

In his 2002 State of the Union, President Bush warned the nation against

the Axis of Evil: Iraq, Iran and North Korea: "The United States of America

will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the

world's most destructive weapons."

Today, Iran is a greater nuclear threat than it was three years ago, racing

toward bomb-making capability while thumbing its nose at Europe and the United

States. The Bush administration has no real policy for dealing with North

Korea. Yet North Korea may already have some nuclear weapons and could be on

its way to making more, with every intention of selling them to terrorists and

other willing bidders. And Iraq, it turns out, had no weapons program, so

President George W. Bush appears to have exhausted his pre-emption doctrine on

a regime with no weapons to pre-empt.

Kerry Prep

Huntington

Ohio's role

in campaigns

Some people are confused by the Republican-Ohio postulate. For a Republican

candidate to win the presidency, he must win Ohio, but carrying Ohio does not

guarantee a win. In mathematical jargon, carrying Ohio is necessary to win but

not sufficient.

Robert Ackerberg

Massapequa

Seniors need

to vote

Many millions of eligible voters neglected to vote in the 2000 presidential

election. A high percentage of these were senior citizens.

In the meantime, the Bush administration has managed to undermine the

traditional Medicare program through the introduction of privatization and

vouchers. Seniors did not win much with this legislation.

The White House is already planning to ask Congress to cannibalize the

Social Security program through privatization, cuts in benefits and cost of

living increases.

It behooves all eligible voters (and especially senior citizens) to

exercise their right to vote to bring about a change in the White House and

changes in Congress to stop the undermining of the Medicare and Social Security

programs.

Emil Verderber

New Hyde Park

GOP has changed

Having been raised in a "diehard" Republican family, I, like most children,

believed what my parents believed. We believed the theory of "trickle-down

economics." We believed it would benefit all the people.

After seeing that, more often than not, the trickle got stuck at the top of

the economic ladder, I still voted for men like Dwight Eisenhower, Nelson

Rockefeller and even Barry Goldwater. I voted for them because I believed they

sincerely cared about all Americans and were wiser men than I.

The Republican Party has changed. It has been taken over by people of the

far right. They say they have conservative values, but what is conservative

about creating a $450-billion deficit, the largest in our history, after being

given a $370-billion surplus? Any CEO having the same fiscal record would

surely be removed. The moderate Republicans have been replaced. Replaced by an

administration that cares less about the little people and more about the

"haves" and the "have mores."

My vote in November will not help this administration to carry on.

Samuel Ango

Baldwin

Learn issues

With all the press lately on getting people out there to vote in the

up-and-coming presidential election (MTV's "Choose or Lose" campaign; P.

Diddy's "Vote or Die" T-shirts), I can't help but worry about those who may

cast an uninformed vote. Too many people jump on the voting bandwagon, but

choose not to watch Democratic or Republican convention speeches, or even read

the newspaper on a regular basis.

I just pray that people vote for a candidate who has shared specific,

workable ideas for improving our country, and not someone who has danced around

the issues or solely painted an ideological picture without the tools to get

there.

Melinda Blam

Great River

Abortion stand

and campaign

Regarding the letter "No to Kerry" [Opinion, Aug. 9] because of his stance

on abortion: I believe firmly in the separation of church and state, and it is

up to the president to uphold the law of the land, whatever his personal

beliefs.

At present the law permits abortion, and there are many people in this

country who believe that women have a right to choose. If all Catholics vote as

the letter writer suggests, strictly on the basis of a candidate's stand on

one issue, there will never be another Catholic president.

Jean Christoffersen

Manorville

Illegal housing

Congratulations to Nassau County Assessor Harvey Levinson for working to

curb illegal and unsafe multifamily housing by raising property owners' taxes.

Perhaps now Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town will decide to get tough, too.

Farmingville, in particular, is being overrun with non-owner- occupied

single-family dwellings that are being turned into boarding houses for scores

of illegal aliens. Complaints to county and town officials have fallen on deaf

ears while we watch our property values plummet. It's time to let the owners of

these homes know that we won't tolerate it anymore.

Gail Dandrea

Farmingville

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