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Cowardly Hamas tactics ?endanger innocent people

Since the beginning of this year alone, 800 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israeli cities, towns, schools, hospitals and playgrounds. As a result, since 2001, a generation of Israeli children has been growing up tethered to bomb shelters, with but 15 seconds to reach safety once the warning sirens sound.

There has been ample time for the world to express its outrage and force an end to this, but the world has been eloquently silent. So, Israel must now do what any nation would under similar circumstances whatever is necessary to render Hamas and its allies incapable of perpetrating such attacks again.

One needn't have a crystal ball to predict what is coming. In view of Hamas' long-standing practice of deliberately placing its artillery close to and within populated areas, it seems inevitable that there will be loss of civilian lives despite Israel's best efforts to avoid it. The main question yet to be answered is where, as it has in the past, the Hamas leadership will choose to hide itself during the fighting in a school, in a mosque or in a hospital.

Richard S. Laub

Williamsville

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Israel is trying ?to protect itself

A glaring headline in large bold print stood out in the Nov. 11 edition of The Buffalo News. It said: "Israelis kill 4 Palestinians in Gaza," and underneath in small print: "Missile strikes prompt attack." It should have read: "Palestinian missile strike wounds Israeli soldiers" and then underneath in small print: "Israel fires back," because that is the order in which it happened.

The spokesman for the terrorist organization Hamas texted a message to reporters that "targeting civilians is a dangerous escalation that cannot be tolerated." The accompanying Associated Press photo of a Palestinian woman grieving at a hospital was heart-wrenching. It reminded me of the horrific scenes televised from Israel after young Arabs were used as suicide bombers in populated areas in order to kill as many Israeli citizens as possible.

Virginia McGroder

Kenmore

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Israel's response is ?entirely appropriate

Israel's recent offensive against terrorists in Gaza was long overdue, given the thousands of rockets and missiles fired by Hamas into Israeli territory with the express purpose of killing innocent civilians. No sovereign state can be expected to forgo its primary responsibility of protecting its citizens against foreign attacks.

The United Nations enshrines the rights of all member states to self-defense. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza entirely in 2005, Palestinian terrorists there have launched thousands of unprovoked and deadly attacks on Israeli territory and citizens, requiring the government to defend itself. Israel has attempted to comply with U.N. guidelines on self-defense scrupulously, sometimes putting its own personnel at great risk to avoid causing collateral civilian casualties.

This stands in direct contrast to the explicit targeting of innocent Israeli civilians practiced by Hamas and other Palestinian groups, which the United Nations defines as a war crime. It also stands in contrast to the all-too-common Palestinian practice of hiding weapons and military sites behind innocent Palestinian civilians, which constitutes yet another war crime.

Israel deserves our support in its ongoing fight to protect its innocent citizens against terrorist murderers. In similar circumstances, the United States and other Western countries have reacted in a far more lethal fashion. For example, Britain and the United States carpet-bombed entire German cities during World War II, in part after London was targeted by several thousand German V-2 rockets. By comparison Israel's restrained tactics are careful and entirely appropriate.

Daniel H. Trigoboff

Williamsville

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GOP needs to learn ?the art of compromise

After four years during which the reality- and intelligence-challenged individuals who took over the Republican Party have been hopefully shamed by the results of the elections, and after hundreds of millions provided by a few billionaires who loved their country less than they hated President Obama got nothing in return, it turns out that no amount of voter suppression was sufficient to fool the majority of the American public.

Let us hope against hope that Republicans have learned their lesson and that from now on will start behaving like adults, i.e., understand that compromise is not a dirty word but is one of the necessary ingredients to move our country forward.

Aside from rejoicing, this is gloating time. When watching Fox News, do not adjust your set if the faces of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove appear to be green.

Andre Toth

Williamsville

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Obama must monitor? the pulse of the nation

Ruth Marcus has a point and a good one. In her Nov. 18 op-ed, "Mandate delusion," she emphasizes the need to downplay hubris. Perceived mandates, like other political points of view, can change swiftly. It only takes an unexpected national or international event for opinions to waver.

Marcus is right. Despite the election's big win for Team Obama, the president and the Democrats must keep close watch on the pulse of the nation. While it's prudent to follow through on successful campaign agendas, the true value of a successful second term is not to "overinterpret" recent election results.

Barbara Woodworth

Amherst

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Common man's champ ?was successful this time

In 1896, the Democratic presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan, was a former liberal congressman. He was an accomplished orator who gave more than 500 speeches in traveling thousands of miles by train across the country. He was the candidate for the common man.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party had controlled the White House the prior four years and was blamed for the economic depression beginning in 1893. In addition, the three top industrialists, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan, each worth hundreds of billions of dollars in today's economy, picked and backed the Republican Party's candidate, William McKinley. Those three gentlemen employed hundreds of thousands of people in the steel, oil, banking and electricity fields. Those heavyweights used their wealth and businesses to besmirch Bryan and pressure workers to vote for McKinley. These two reasons were partly responsible for Bryan's loss, but there were other ones that didn't involve money.

The real beginning of the middle class didn't start until the automotive industry began after the Model T was introduced in 1908. Workers in the mid-1890s worked in steel, kerosene and other factories for low wages and deplorable working conditions with long hours. In addition, many of these people were not well educated and were easily influenced. What these workers did not have were the unions that started to become better organized in the 20th century. Of course these unions became highly Democratic.

President Obama won due to having wealthy contributors, the unionized states as well as informed, educated women and a different color populous.

Joseph Borzelliere

East Amherst

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Libraries ought to take? precedence over stadium

A couple of days ago, reading The News and drinking my morning coffee, I noticed two articles on the same page of the Region section. On the left was an article reporting the budgeting of $4 million for "not severe" concrete stair repairs at Ralph Wilson Stadium. To the right, there was an article reporting the Buffalo Public Libraries "pleading for the restoration" of $3.3 million needed to return hours and programs that were recently eliminated.

Isn't it nice to see how the county of Erie has its priorities set that best benefits the taxpayers of Western New York? I guess it's better to make improvements to a locality that gets used eight to 10 times a year, rather than all of the public libraries in Erie County used hundreds of times a year. I will sleep well tonight, knowing the football fans are safe, at the expense of books and reading programs for our libraries.

Michael Scime

East Aurora

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Petraeus broke? no security laws

I wish to echo the thoughts of Trudy Rubin's commentary in the Nov. 18 News. Gen. David Petraeus broke no security laws, but was merely a man with a very stressful job and, as Rubin said, no different than Allen Dulles in 1953-1961. I would add also no more of a man nor less of a hero than President John Kennedy in 1961-1963.

I disagree only with her acceptance of President Bill Clinton's actions. The woman worked for him as an intern. He deserved impeachment for taking advantage of his managerial position.

Charles J. Schorr

Williamsville

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Law is not lowering ?our health care costs

After having heard that "Obamacare" would lower our health care costs, I was surprised (actually astounded) to learn that the cost of my current Medicare Advantage plan would increase by $36 per month to $101 per month, and that a deductible of $300 would be added. Upon reviewing details, I learned that the cost of my treatments would increase from $30 to $800-plus.

I am hoping members of Medicare Advantage plans will carefully double- and triple-check the details to avoid their own private "fiscal cliff" in 2013.

Carrie Silvaroli

Tonawanda