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Punish those who failed to help soldiers in need

I was enraged when I read the article in The News about Marine Gunnery Sgt. Aaron M. Kenefick and the four others killed in an ambush in Afghanistan. I suggest that the failure to provide support for troops under fire, if available, would be aiding and abetting the enemy. Treason, as defined in Article 3 Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, is as follows: "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."

If our country engages in war, we must back our brave men and women at all cost. Even if it is at the cost of the lives of innocent or not-so-innocent civilians. Our warriors must know that command has their backs at all times.

Cpl. Dakota Meyer and Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez disobeyed direct orders and could have been court-martialed for the actions they took to save their brothers. They were not because they disobeyed an unlawful order. Those at the battalion level whose non-action was "inadequate and ineffective" were reprimanded. This is not acceptable. Those in command may have regrets and feel bad about their non-action, but not as bad as the families and Marine Corps brothers and sisters who have lost loved ones.

The persons who made that decision must receive more than a reprimand. I would like to see those who denied the request and those who created the environment for that denial of support be identified, punished by Congress and sent on patrol with our brave warriors in a combat situation and have them take point in that patrol. Only then will they be enlightened to the error of their decisions.

Robin Baehre

Tonawanda

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Presidential candidates don't care about people

The "pot calling the kettle black" race for presidential candidates is a daily comedy of errors. It's ego versus ego.

In sports, the premise is "there's no I in team." In politics, the good ole boys playing the game all have "I" trouble. None of them gives a hoot about representing the people. They just crave the power and prestige of the Oval Office.

If nothing else, the next year will provide plenty of material for the media and the talk shows to chew on and spit out, as we fall prey to the same old empty promises of "a better life" that never seems to materialize. To quote a line from an old Bette Davis film, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride."

Patricia Pawlowski

Collins

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Self-serving politicians are hurting our region

Donn Esmonde's recent commentary on the price that Mike Vishion had to pay for trying to better the region as a whole is incredible. Western New York has tons to offer. However, one black eye that continues to surface is the immature and self-serving politics that infect the area.

I have visited relatives who live across the country. Only Western New York seems to have a group of politicians who think it is OK and normal to behave worse than most grade-school children would. Esmonde's commentary shows, yet again, what petty, immature and self-serving politicians we continue to have to deal with here.

The fact that Vishion donated the profits from his side business to charity while also employing more than a dozen people is fantastic. The fact that Vishion's decision to run for office to attempt to do away with the "friends and family plan" led to petty discrimination against him is disgusting. The nepotism has gone on for long enough. It is time for us to unite as a region, not as a city. I applaud Vishion for his courage and vision. I hope everyone who attempts to do good will keep up the good fight. The great people of Western New York deserve what they have to offer and are willing to fight for.

Shame on the status-quo politicians who are self-serving. How can they look at themselves in the mirror and sleep peacefully each night? Disgusting. Remember the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

Kristopher Pendrak

North Tonawanda

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Help make a difference by being a foster parent

The approaching holidays, even today with our unusually compressed and often uncertain lives, still stimulate times of reflective contemplation. It's an emotional time. The nice things around us tend to seem exceptionally good and we find ourselves feeling intensely aware of and deeply thankful for them. The bad things in our lives -- around town and across the world -- can sometimes be almost crippling.

For these few short days, the precious time with our family and friends compels us to truly treasure and appreciate who we are and where we came from. We know that, no matter what the future may bring, it will not have to be faced alone. We're so lucky to be able to take these emotions for granted and to watch our cherished children truly laugh.

Others, around the block and a few streets over, perpetually try so very hard to imagine the same feelings and dream of times they'll be loved as well. Who are they? Where did they come from? Who can they trust and what does their future hold? Please, as you embrace the wonderful spirit of giving during this time, think about what a difference a foster parent can make forever in these still precious and trustful lives.

J. Mark Robinson

Executive Director, Care Management Coalition of Western New York

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America must address unfair trade balance

What did President Obama mean when he said the economy is going to take a long time to recover? It's been more than 30 years since the Reagan administration inaugurated our failed supply-side trade and economic system. The only time it appeared to work was during President Bill Clinton's deregulation/credit bubble, which eventually collapsed. In order for Americans to consume enough to sustain our economy, they need real earnings, not exotic credit schemes. Unless something is done about the unfair trade imbalance, how can we ever achieve our former prosperity and world standing? Are greedy multinationals and predatory trade partners that are profiting immensely and beggaring our country going to correct themselves?

Does Obama think Americans will forget about past New Deal achievements in social and economic standards when we were our own best customer? Is fostering acceptance of regression to a Dickens era society his idea of progress? Is his goal to stay the course, continue as China's middle man, strip away the last vestiges of our equity and place working Americans on parity with Third World countries?

Do our national leaders see themselves as global representatives of multinationals and foreign countries instead of representing "we the people" of the United States?

Louis L. Boehm

Orchard Park