A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.

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White House meltdown


No confidence in
secretary of defense

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flows from his boss


Editor, The Times:

Thanks to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for finally having the guts and fortitude to stand up and give a vote of “no confidence” to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (“Senate panel to air criticism of war plans,” Times, Iraq Notebook, Dec. 15). Unfortunately, his opinion won’t change the world or U.S. policy much now.

I have one question for Sen. McCain (for whom I have always had the utmost respect): “What were you thinking when you endorsed George Bush for re-election, for heaven’s sake!” I never believed for a moment that McCain felt Bush was superior to John Kerry in any way, yet he refused to cross party lines and speak the truth when it mattered the most.

When McCain endorsed Bush, he endorsed Rumsfeld. Let that be on his conscience forever as our men and women continue to fight and die in this incredibly senseless war.


— Marilyn Burson, Redmond


And is stamped in gold


In “Military stints: Troops’ greatest vulnerability may be in Cabinet” (Northwest Voices, Dec. 14), letter writer Doug Selwyn indicates that “(Donald) Rumsfeld has been wrong about virtually every aspect of the war, as has national-security adviser Condi Rice, and they are both still in the Cabinet.” He goes on to ask, “What does it mean to be accountable and responsible in the Bush administration?”

Well, George W. Bush himself just answered that question when he bestowed our nation’s highest (civilian) honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on George Tenet. Yes, the same beleaguered former CIA director, who resigned amid a sea of bipartisan criticism generated by post-9/11 reports and his “slam-dunk,” “conclusive” intelligence that Iraq had WMD (“Bush honors Tenet, Bremer, Franks,” Iraq Notebook, Dec. 15).

Unbelievable.

Maybe our troops would better appreciate Tenet’s medal if it were armor plating on their Humvees.


— Brenda Roach, Redmond


Spin tin soldiers


So now we reward incompetence, times three, with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom. Tuesday, President Bush gave the medals to Gen. Tommy Franks, former CIA head George Tenet and former civilian administrator of the U.S.-led occupation authority Paul Bremer, for their participation in the war against Iraq.

The sheer arrogance of the Bush administration in making these awards is unbelievable. Regarding decisions and actions taken by these three individuals, their incompetence will become legendary. I don’t know how any one of them could possibly think they are deserving.

Trying to rewrite history by dressing up failure as a success does not work. The really sad thing about this is that it will pass unchallenged and unnoticed by most Americans. Ignorance and apathy have become this country’s greatest enemy, and this administration’s best friend.


— James Watkins, Redmond


Malleable mettle


I wonder why the media is dwelling on the “illegal nanny” part of the many problems (business dealings, arrest warrants, etc.) for which former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik declined his recent nomination to lead the Homeland Security Office (“Homeland security nominee pulls out,” News, Dec. 11).

I wonder why no one mentions the unpaid taxes for that nanny. I heard one Republican dismiss it quaintly as just a nominal amount. Does that mean it’s legal? Or just legal for the morally good among us?

Could someone please let me know how much that “nominal” amount is so I can remember not to pay it too? I’m assuming it must be all right as no one is giving Kerik’s failure to pay that tax on his illegal nanny any credence whatsoever. Or, could it be he didn’t pay that tax because he “knew” she was undocumented? Hmmm.


— Clara McArthur, Federal Way


Copper breaches


My jaw can’t have been the only one that dropped on reading in “Further details revealed about Bernard Kerik” (News, Dec. 14), and I quote, “White House officials said they knew in advance about … extramarital affairs… but had concluded that they were not disqualifying.”

Two mistresses on the side were not disqualifying? No, not if this were France. But this is the holier-than-thou, moral U.S.A. And isn’t this the same administration that got voted in on moral values? The same party that managed to get Bill Clinton impeached because he had an affair and lied about it?

I’m just waiting to see how long it takes those voters gullible enough to have fallen for the hypocritical “moral” posture of the Republican Party to see through it.


— Jenny Garden, Everett


Brass galls


Please say it ain’t so! Please tell me your reporter got it wrong! Did this White House, the one that wants a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage because it might harm straight marriage, actually say it knew in advance about (scotched candidate for homeland security secretary) Bernard Kerik’s multiple mistresses on the side — and that his extramarital affairs don’t disqualify him from joining the Bush administration?

My God! The hypocrisy of this administration has become palpable! I guess the red states are red now because they’re blushing.


— Rob Jacques, Bainbridge Island


Waxing consistent


In regards to “Bush makes surprise pick for Energy” (News, Dec. 11), what’s so surprising about it? Samuel W. Bodman has very limited experience in the department he’s being asked to head, and he was formerly the head of a chemical firm that broke environmental regulations.

No surprise here. Sounds exactly like the kind of man George Bush would pick.


— Craig Campbell, Tokyo, Japan


Re traction


Fact on the skids


The letter from Jack Ellison (“Military stints: Brad in war“) was for the most part correct but he got one major detail wrong: the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle is not a wheeled but a tracked transport. And like all tracked vehicles, including the M-1 tank, its use on hard surfaces like paved roads is limited.

Tracked vehicles cannot maintain a high speed or travel long distances on roads without incurring heavy wear to the track and track pads and therefore requiring intensive maintenance. That is the reason the Army designed the Stryker wheeled vehicle.

Unfortunately, neither the Stryker nor the Bradley offers much protection against anti-armor RPG rockets without modifications.


— George Mells, Cpt., U.S. Army Reserve, Lynnwood


Sandy clues


Wife’s a beach bum


In her argument that Santa is a woman (“Santa maybe: And her down the chimney,” Northwest Voices, Dec. 14), Marjorie Anderson left out a couple key facts.

First, no one has ever seen Santa making his rounds, which means he never gets out to ask for directions. Very macho.

Secondly, no woman would put up with living at the North Pole for all these years. I suspect Mrs. Claus left poor Santa a long time ago to live on a sunny beach, which would also explain how Santa gets away with lazily sitting around all year without getting “a real job.”


— Michael Blake, Seattle