Will anything really change Steve, just finished your article (Hammer, “Leading the Blessed Life,” Sept. 15-22) and come on, I know your articles are not based in facts, but opinion, but do you really not see the big picture? You claim that with the re-election of GW, the draft will be put into place and more Americans will die. Now this could very well happen, especially the “more deaths” but do you not believe the same will happen under John Kerry? He has already stated, at least a couple of times, that he will continue the battle in Iraq and may look at increasing the amount of troops. So how is his plan any different then GW’s?

You claim it will become more and more unsafe here in the U.S. from terrorist attacks, yet since Sept. 11, how many attacks have occurred on U.S. soil? You claimed more and more freedoms will be lost, yet no freedoms have been lost yet during GW’s administration. We have become more aware and protective, but what freedoms don’t you have now you had in 2000?

You state the budget will continue to grow? Well come on, Steve, under Kerry it’s going to go through the roof, I mean, if he stays in Iraq and goes about putting into place more and more welfare programs it is only going to grow the economy.

Also, throughout your writings I haven’t really seen any support for JK and JE, just continual bashing of Bush. Now, typical bashing happens in most elections, but usually the “faithful” advance their guy and his policies, which isn’t happening this time. Don’t you also find it a bit interesting that even with the “supposed” problems facing the U.S. that Bush and Kerry are pretty much even, shouldn’t Kerry have a lead of some measure?

Personally, I don’t care who wins and won’t be voting because overall nothing is really going to change. Kerry is going to stay in Iraq as would GW and with a Republican-controled Congress he won’t get much through so the country will just roll along.

Drew Nelson

Indianapolis

Iraq and Vietnam I want to thank you for running this commentary about the quagmire in Iraq and its similarities to the Vietnam War (First Person, “Billy Joel for President!” Oct. 6-13). I have had numerous arguments with my niece (who is 25 years old) about the fact that this “war” will haunt her generation for years, all for the simple reason that someone (some people) were thinking about monetary gain rather than the lives that would be negatively impacted, whether by death, maiming or even just seeing the brutality of fighting. I also cry for the fact that there are many of us who said no, but no one seemed to be listening. Thank you for saying so clearly what I have been feeling.

Stephanie Lewis Robertson

Indianapolis

Lose the cigarette Regarding Steve Hammer’s column Oct. 13-20, “Yard Signs and Vandals”: He states, “I’ve always held strong political views but I’ve also ALWAYS refrained from exhibiting them too publicly, at least when it comes to my car.”

Oh really. You WON’T put a sticker on your car but you WILL rant for almost 30 paragraphs in NUVO about why your selection for governor is superior. You exercise such restraint when it comes to your political opinions that you use the B-word repeatedly. We get it.

Hammer says, “That’s why I’ll just keep the Kerry stickers at home and keep working, as SURREPTITIOUSLY as I can, to undermine the greedheads like Daniels in this state who would Goldsmith us to death.” Steve, when you write an opinionated column with intent to be published you no longer qualify as “working surreptitiously.”

Obviously, you are entitled, as a journalist, to express your opinion, use foul language to make your point and contradict yourself in whatever juvenile journalism style you prefer. However, if you want to help your political cause, how about displaying a little maturity? You could start with losing the unlit cigarette that is dangling from your mouth in your picture.

Kathy Bannister

Indianapolis

Stand up and be counted Two years ago one of your readers took “those people” like me to task for displaying yard signs for Jim Atterholt in spite of the absolute plethora of Democratic yard signs planted as closely as rows of corn (Hammer, “Yard Signs and Vandals,” Oct. 13-20). Now it seems that you may have coined a new word for the modern English dictionary “closet Democrat.” I am a fiercely proud un-closeted Republican who proudly displays my political beliefs regardless of the so-called risks you mention.

I felt it was utterly repugnant that you insinuate that people like our police target certain political affiliations. They are too busy protecting us and saving lives and (unfortunately in some cases) sacrificing their own lives to pay attention to what bumper sticker you may have on your vehicle. Also, I feel that citizens have not only a right but a responsibility to express their beliefs without fear of recrimination and that their beliefs be respected by all. Even though I don’t agree with your political views, I chide you for your reluctance to “stand up and be counted.” Perhaps like Peter you may “go out and weep bitterly.”

Peggy Sabens

Indianapolis

Iraq war = oil Anyone who believes that the war in Iraq has nothing to do with oil should think again. Documents never intended for public consumption, obtained by court order after a long legal battle, clearly indicate that long before Sept. 11 Dick Cheney and his Energy Task Force, made up largely of oil executives, were mapping out ways fort the U.S. to control Iraq’s oil supply. This is information that the Bush Administration has desperately tried to keep from the American public.

Also released under court order is a chart entitled “Foreign Suitors of Iraq Oilfields.” It identifies France, Russia and the Netherlands, along with 29 other countries who were in negotiations with Saddam for a piece of his oil pie. After years of Iraq-U.S. hostilities, U.S. major companies were left out in the cold. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, concluded that the task force relied on advice from the oil company executives, whose close ties to the Bush family are well-documented. George W. Bush, in two years, received more money from the oil and gas industry than any other federal candidate in the last 10 years. Is it any wonder that France and Russia weren’t interested in George Bush’s war?

By invading Iraq Bush has effectively quashed any deal struck with any other country. Not only have the stockpiles of weapons we were told Saddam possessed not been found, now Bush is telling us that while no weapons have been found, he is sure that Saddam intended to start his weapons program from scratch. This is not an imminent threat. Saddam was contained. American troops, U.N. troops and thousands of inspectors were in Iraq before the war. Had he given inspectors time to do their job as he told the Congress he would, we would not have thousands of dead and wounded soldiers. If we do intend to get out of Iraq, why are we spending billions of taxpayer dollars building numerous military bases in Iraq? So now it’s about freedom for the Iraqi people. So far, we’ve freed about 25,000 Iraqis from planet Earth. The only reason that Iraq is now a terrorist threat can be blamed solely on this president and his administration. War was not the last resort. Anyone who allows Bush and his administration to change the reason for this war is a moral coward or is simply not informed enough to vote. Wake up, America.

Patrick McShay

Indianapolis

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