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Letter: Obama's success in Iran

President Barack Obama has taken the first step toward successfully achieving his goal of a non-nuclear Iran without force, but by instituting strong sanctions and leveraging the international community to force Iran to change its ways ["UN invited to nuclear plant," News, Nov. 29].

This man has achieved the major objectives that he promised to the American people: end the war in Iraq, end the war in Afghanistan, achieve national healthcare reform and rid the world of Osama bin Laden. So, why is his popularity at an all-time low? He continues his effort to stick to his principles, even given his occasional lack of effective execution, in the face of historically unprecedented obstructionism.

The real problem, it seems, may be the increasing outdatedness of our two-party Congressional form of governance.

Brian Mannix, Glen Cove

Recognize assault in U.S. military

I am saddened to see that people have no clue as to how big an issue sexual assault in the U.S. military really is or the pain that comes along with being a victim ["Sexual assault weakens military," Letters, Nov. 25].

These assaults are not the fault of the victims, male or female, and the military has a long history of covering up and ignoring claims of assault, because leadership apparently believes it would tarnish the reputation of their command. There are so many attacks that are not reported because of the nature of the military.

Sexual predators leave the military having never been disciplined for their actions. Do they go on to commit the same assaults and rapes on civilians?

The U.S. military can still be first in the world only after the closed-mindedness is removed to match our modern times.

The only opinion I share with the letter writer is that we need to get a grip on these problems, fixing them instead of pretending they do not exist.

Reanna Fulton, Setauket

Health care future uncertain today

After hammering against Obamacare year after year, Republicans have developed and will deliver their own health care plan, and it will work, guaranteed ["Focus on fixing health care rollout," Letters, Nov. 28].

All you have to do is tell the Republicans' website where you live, and it will tell you where the nearest emergency room is located.

Arthur Feingold, Oceanside

There is a misguided belief that everyone will now have better health coverage and care, and this in fact may not be the case. Some may have fewer options for coverage and care than before, and in fact those with enough money can and will choose to seek medical care outside of the insurance exchange.

My Democratic neighbors may also have forgotten that their party was in control of both houses and the presidency when this law was enacted, so the Republicans had minimal input into its composition.

This was a grand design by the Democratic party to redistribute costs to level the playing field of care available for all, or at least most U.S. residents. What cost will be borne by the taxpayer through the payment of government subsidies to those who qualify?

This effort to put everyone on a level playing field will not necessarily improve the quality of health care nor reduce costs. I believe that we will have less control of our own health care decisions.

Louis Bell, Farmingdale

'Deplorable' delay in Sandy money

Regarding "Stalled by red tape" [News, Dec. 1], it is deplorable to know that so many storm victims still await financial aid while many of the Long Island beach boardwalks have been rebuilt!

Joe Giacoponello, Garden City

Black Sunday for train travelers

In the wake of the holiday weekend tidings, we were sadly awakened by the tragic news of the deadly Metro-North train derailment on Sunday ["Deadly curve," News, Dec. 2].

Alas, suddenly Black Friday's dark mockery marketing line becomes very tragically real -- it was a Black Sunday indeed.

Susan and Robert Davniero, Lindenhurst

Young readers need adult mentors

As a retired early childhood educator, I agree that getting more books into kids' hands helps prevent childhood illiteracy ["Turn the page on childhood illiteracy," Opinion, Nov. 29].

However, equally important is the adult who reads to and with the child to mentor literacy development. Books alone aren't enough; young readers need to be read aloud to often and receive support for their emerging skills.

Parents and caregivers need to talk to their children about books: title, author, main idea, characters, setting, details, etc. Engaging in meaningful book talk reinforces the importance of reading at home and applying skills learned in the classroom.

Obtaining a library card is free and puts endless books, of readers' choice, in the hands of children. I'd like to see workshops for parents about reading aloud at home and using the local library.

Patricia Gill, Eastport