Shielding Canada from criticism on missile defense
I just wanted to thank Michael O'Hanlon for his Opinion piece on the Bush administration's snubbing of Canada for its decision not to participate in North American Missile Defense ("Don't blame Canada for missile-defense snub," March 3). His incisive comments not only hit the nail on the head, but bring to light several important points.
First, it's not as though Canadians don't care about defending North America from attacks by other nations; it's that we're not prepared, without full disclosure and a cohesive plan, to support a system that could spark a new arms race.
Moreover, as Mr. O'Hanlon himself states, we surely don't want to get into the business of weaponizing space, especially with a system whose tests have thus far proven inconsistent in actually bringing down incoming missiles.
If the US brings Canada a coherent, fleshed-out plan, I'm certain our government would reconsider participating in such a program. But as O'Hanlon says, you can't ask us for the moon and expect us to say yes.
I listened closely during Bush's limited visit to Canada last fall and the message I heard was that Canadians were deeply divided about whether joining the missile-defense system was "smart" defense or in their national interests.
As a US citizen, I respect Canada's view of a "smart" military's value, compared to a "mighty" military. I appreciate their open debates and affinity for truth, whether I agree with their conclusions or not. Canada's decision offers me viewpoints currently missing in domestic media. I've become dependent on foreign sources for opinions about domestic issues when I can tell only one side is presented and there's no difference between facts, public relations, or industry interests. Remember, it was US news show hosts who said Canadians were lucky the US allowed them to exist on the same continent and said the average Canadian, rather than following politics, was "busy dog-sledding."
O'Hanlon's piece used the term "knee-jerk liberals" to describe Canadians. Such statements only prevent further debate and fact-finding.
What the March 2 article "Tussle over mustangs and desert habitat" doesn't tell is that the $30 million a year it takes to pay for the cost of capturing and caring for wild horses could be compensated by raising the outrageously low price cattle ranchers pay the federal government for allowing their cattle to graze on taxpayer land, where the horses should be running. Or, if the federal government would not allow the cattle to graze on the land that horses were meant to run on, they would not need to be captured and cared for - they would still be free.
Regarding Brendan O'Neill's Feb. 25 "Premature nostalgia": I believe that looking to one's past provides many benefits. I do not think of it as an immature or childish thing, as the author implies. It enables you to share some of your happiest moments with those you love; it enables you to learn from mistakes and progress as an individual.
I, unlike the author of this commentary, encourage others to look to their younger years and rejoice in their memories.
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