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1/17/2007 – Editorials


President Bush spoke to the nation last week and told us he was sending 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.

He admitted mistakes were made, especially in not sending enough troops in the first place. How many times did he assure us that if the military wanted more troops, all it had to do was ask. When General Shinseki said more troops were needed, he was fired. Generals Abazaid and Casey said they don’t think more troops will do any good.

They were replaced, too. So much for President Bush’s assertion that he listens to military advice. He’s exceedingly stubborn and his judgment is terrible. That’s a bad combination, as Americans are learning.

If I thought there were a chance to succeed in Iraq, I’d support the president’s plan. But there is no chance of success. It’s a lost cause. The Shiites and Sunnis will have their religious war and we can’t stop it. Saddam Hussein kept the religious leaders who wanted religious war under control with an iron fist. He killed them. But Democracy doesn’t stand a chance in a tribal society with religious leaders calling for religious war. Only a vicious dictator could control the situation. So there will be bloody religious war whether we stay or leave. Staying will only cost us more in lives and treasure. Even if there is temporary success, the religious war will reignite as soon as we leave and everything we’ve strived for will go down the tubes. We can’t win there. We may as well cut our losses and get out.

Typically, President Bush has once again made the wrong decision. He should have supported the troops by bringing them home. Instead he puts more of them in harm’s way with little or no chance of success.

He opened Pandora’s Box and doesn’t know how to close it.


When the Republican Congress passed its Medicare bill, the government was specifically forbidden from negotiating the prices of drugs. This was the payoff to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries for their campaign contributions to Republicans.

The Democratic Congress plans to pass a bill requiring the government to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices under Medicare.

This would be good for taxpayers and consumers.

President Bush has vowed to veto this measure. That should surprise no one. He’s on the wrong side of nearly every issue.


As I predicted, he’s also ignoring the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker.

Bush insists on unrealistic preconditions before talking to officials from Iran and Syria. The Iraq Study Group recommended talks with these nations in trying to cool off and bring some order to the Iraq mess. No such luck. Bush’s incredible stubbornness will only bring disaster.


Fargo officials are pressing for parking meters. They want the State Legislature to study the issue.

North Dakota voters passed an initiated measure in 1948 banning parking meters in North Dakota. This was one of the most progressive ideas ever initiated in our state.

In 1999 a group of Fargo and West Fargo legislators tried to repeal the law, which, thank goodness, failed by 27-21 in the State Senate.

But if we don’t keep our eyes on the ball, urban legislators will attempt to place these robber machines on the sidewalks of their cities so we rural yokels and poor slobs in the city have to pay to park.

If the urban legislators do manage to repeal the law against parking meters, we’ll have to band together to initiate another measure to permanently send these hateful machines to the dustbin of history.


Hey, the State Legislature is considering the designation of a state fruit. It’s about time! We’ve been without a state fruit since statehood in 1889 and it’s a miracle we managed all these years. The chokecherry is under consideration. That’s fine with me.

Here are other important official designations made by past legislatures — State Bird: Western Meadowlark

State Flower: Wild Prairie Rose

State Tree: American Elm

State Song: North Dakota Hymn

State Fossil: Teredo Petrified Wood

State Fish: Northern Pike

State March: Flickertail March

State Beverage: Milk

State Grass: Western Wheatgrass

State Dance: Square Dance

State Language: English

Honorary Equine: Nokota Horse

And here are some designations we really need — State Meal: Lutefisk, boiled potatoes and lefse with butter on everything Alternate State Meal: Venison sausage and fried potatoes State Weather: Windy Alternate State Weather: Cold State Hazard: Deer on roads State Nuisance: Mosquito State Newspaper: Benson County Farmers Press (who else?) State Crop: Hemp State Pen: Yes, if you grow hemp without a federal permit.

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