A4 THE HAYS DAILY NEWS OPINION TUESDAY, JUNE 13,2006 Editorial Open and shut Change of heart leads to talks with Iran Smith County sheriff debacle need not move into judicial system, too I t's often said that anybody can sue anybody for anything. While true, it shouldn't hold that everybody should. Take the recent Tilings in Smith County District Court. One suit comes from the recently-recalled-from-office Sheriff Ellsworth Murphy against the Smith County clerk, attorney and commissioners. The countersuit is from the clerk and commissioners against Murphy. At issue, if we dare synthesize the gobbledygook, is: (1) Whether the county commissioners should have paid Murphy for the time period between the loss of his certification until he was recalled from office by voters; (2) Whether the commission rightfully withheld money from Murphy's paycheck for items that either appeared to be for personal use or did not have supporting documentation; and (3) Whether the five aforementioned county officials caused Murphy extreme emotional distress and irreparable damage to his reputation. While we won't pretend to act as a judge, we don't believe one is necessary. Both parties could, and should, withdraw their respective lawsuits by reaching agreement in the following manner: (1) The Smith County Commission does not hire or fire elected officials. While Murphy indeed did not appear to be qualified for the sheriff's position, that was the case from day one. He held the position officially until the recall votes were canvassed. In question, according to the documents, is approximately $3,000 in salary and benefits. The commission should pay it. (2) Using a county-issued credit card to purchase items such as a fleece jacket at Wal-Mart, a parka at J.C. Penney or filling up the tank at Midway Oil Co. appears to be personal in nature. The county already has collected the $123.41; it should keep it. (3) The only sullying done to Murphy's reputation was done years ago by himself. Why the Smith County Republican Central Committee selected Murphy when the position opened is beyond us. If anybody is owed damages in excess of $75,000, it's the residents of Smith County. They've had to suffer through this predictably embarrassing saga. This request should be dropped. Our court systems do not need clogging by frivolous lawsuits such as these. And we certainly do not deserve to commit resources paid for by tax dollars to resolve such disputes. Both parties should reach agreement on their own — and drop the lawsuits in the process. If Murphy and son still wish to sue somebody, might we suggest the local Republican Party? They ignored no less than the governor in appointing this less-than-qualified sheriff. Editorial by Patrick E. Lowry firstname.lastname@example.org The editorials represent the opinion and institutional voice of The Hays Daily News but are signed by the author for the reader's information. Guest editorials are from other newspapers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Hays Daily News. Other content on this page represents the views of the signed columnist, cartoonist or letter-writer. The Opinion Page is intended to be a community forum. Guest editorials and syndicated columnists are selected to present a variety of opinion. Reader Forum Henman a good choice for county commissioner I was very pleased to see Perry Henman of Ellis will run for a seat as a ^county commissioner.. . . . '•; • He. speaks for many who live outside of Hays and sometimes feel our views are not heard. I agree with his concerns. Henman is a solid individual and is fair in judgment. He is an excellent candidate for a seat on the Ellis County Commission because he speaks for concerns many of us have. I agree with him and feel he will make an excellent commissioner. Sally Ward Ellis Concealed carry means lawmakers trust citizens I was quoted in an article concerning the new concealed carry law in Kansas and due to time and space concerns, not all of my remarks were included in that article. The most important thing the Legislature did by passing this new law was to say to the people they serve that we trust you. That trust is important and nobody understood better than the likes of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy Also during my interview, the subject of carrying a concealed weapon while hunting came up and I discouraged that as a courtesy to the officers in the Wildlife and Parks Division. That same kind of courtesy should be extended to law enforcement in case of a traffic stop, etc. Tell the officer you have a carry permit and that you are carrying. Courtesy and common sense works every time. Should everyone apply for a permit to carry? Absolutely not. However it is nice to know the right is there and should be treated with the utmost respect and responsibility A firearms storage tip? I store my guns partially disassembled with components stored in different locations and hidden. T.J. Wierman 500 E. Eighth Journalists don't display well-rounded training How much of a newspaper's reportage or a newscast's transmission time appeals to curiosity only? (Idle curiosity, is it?) How much of it is "news you can use?" One Wichita television station extols (incessantly) its newscasts as "coverage you can count on." The obvious question is, count on for what? I find that the biggest part of the news I get blows by me, or I blow by it, because it doesn't set my mind in motion. It provides little or no insight into the story being presented and often too little information to try to sort out what is behind the "news." It provides no understanding. On the positive side it can be constructive propaganda; on the negative, something between fluff and farce. I don't think most journalists, while in "training" in college, spend much time taking weighty subjects that require hard thinking — math, science, philosophy, history and English literature — the core of liberal arts studies. It shows in their reporting. Often in listening to the news, especially, I'm left "high and dry" by the reporter. Just at the moment one might think that he or she is about to complete the story, they drop it and move on to the next blurb. Newspaper format is better, if only because one has the page in front to hold and peruse, and then can work at trying to fill in the "blanks" in the reporting and "read between the lines." I guess what's lacking comes about mainly because of the perceived timely necessity of getting the "scoop" out to the public. But how much of what's reported really requires this approach? How about a sense of perspective instead, or a penchant for accuracy and completeness? Too often, a few days later, when the dust kicked up from the confusion generated from the melee of news gathering has settled, the story comes out quite differently. When the "sources" are rechecked, the "facts" are altered beyond posterior recognition, and the public is left confused from that time on about what really happened and what it all means. Coupling this with intentional distortion through misinformation makes getting the news a hazardous undertaking for the average consumer. Undoubtedly, a lot of news is put out as entertainment (high or low). Not bad in itself if not taken too seriously and if the consumer of news is skeptical enough to sort out "fact" from fiction. (This is doubly necessary when weighing in the balance any statistics presented, since without solid facts to back up the statistics, they often are worthless.) If what one will accept is undigested or indigestible information, what is reported doesn't matter much. If one desires useful information and insight, he or she is left largely to their own devices. But isn't that what getting a college education is about? I guess if the newscasters and reporters show evidence of having missed it when they got theirs we are obligated to make it up for ourselves. GaryJ. Whitesell 213 W. 21st AUSTIN, Texas — It occasionally occurs to me that if I could understand the Bush administration's foreign policy, I might like it. After months of threatening Iran with everything up to and including nuclear war, we are now full of Sweet Reason and offering to have diplomatic talks with the very people we have been denouncing as Beyond Vile. I never mind a good about-face in foreign policy myself. Always reminds me of the times when that great duo Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger decided it would be a good thing to convince the world they were both quite perfectly mad. They succeeded. (Bonus point: What did Richard Nixon say upon first seeing the Great Wall of China? He said, "This is, indeed, a great wall." Almost as good as the time George H.W. Bush barfed on the prime minister of Japan.) John Bolton is my favorite Bush administration diplomat. He's the one they sent to the United Nations, since he has all the characteristics of a really clumsy bull in a China shop. Ambassador Bolton, his white mustache positively bristling in horror, has assured us over and over that we cannot consent to have diplomatic talks with Iran No Matter What. COMMENTARY Iran's highly unpleasant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad started uttering anti-Semitic screeds. Condoleezza Rice has been wandering around saying the same thing as Bolton to the European allies, who kept tugging her sleeve and whispering, "Have talks, good plan, we'll do the hard part." At least Rice realized threatening Iran was getting us nowhere — particularly since we already had violated the nuclear weapons ban by making a deal with India. The great diplomatic lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis during JFK's presidency is that one can always choose to hear the less hostile response. Likewise, we can give a two-toned response — both "no enrichment" and "some enrichment." It's so entirely pleasant to see the Bushies actually using diplomacy, one veritably vaults toward other cases where it might be helpful. All of Latin America? China? Denny Hastert? Who knows where this might take us. And all with Bolton in the lead, his moustache at full bristle, dropping imprecations upon one and all. I'm telling you, there's a great sit-com in this. Meanwhile, there is nothing funny about Iraq, as we slide toward being just one more militia in the chaos. I had a slightly insane discussion the other day with a winger who wanted urgently for me to understand that the Haditha massacre is the kind of thing that happens in war. Whereas I was trying to point out to him that the Haditha massacre is the kind of thing that happens in war. I think we both got that massacres occur in war — but for me, it felt like a "don't teach your grandma to suck eggs" moment. Why would anyone who hadn't lived through My Lai try to explain Ha- ditha? I realize it's silly to let really stupid people upset you, but I have had it with the wingnuts who go about claiming that liberals are delighted about Haditha or want to use it for nefarious public relations purposes. Listen, twits, if you can't stop your petty little partisan political games long to enough to recognize Sad when you see it, then shut up. Molly Ivins is a columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Zarqawi and pulling out of Iraq The Texas outlaw John Wesley Hardin once famously said that he never killed anyone who didn't need killing. Hardin's definition of who needed killing was considerably too liberal. But if there ever were anyone who unquestionably exhibited such a need, it was the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq's maestro of vileness and death. Killing Zarqawi is the equivalent of averting a Haditha every other day in Iraq, indefinitely Massacres weren't exceptionally rare, once-every-few-decades lapses in the code of conduct of Zarqawi's fighters — as they are for ours — they were a way of life. Zarqawi took the death cult that surrounds suicide bombing and pushed it to its hellish logical conclusion. He made 1983's horrific suicide bombing against the Marine barracks in Lebanon seem quaint, That attack was directed at U.S. personnel and had a goal that was at least understandable: chasing the U.S. from Lebanon. Zarqawi, in contrast, targeted women, children and people attending wedding celebrations. For Zarqawi, most everyone in Iraq — but especially anyone from the Shiite majority — was a potential pool of blood and a few scattered shoes, with loved ones wailing in the background. His tactical goal was more death. He wanted to provoke the Shiite into acts as cruel as his own, and unfortunately had achieved some success. The vengeful Shiite militia members plying the streets of Baghdad with their power tools to torture Sunni men before dump- A community is best served when residents are willing to discuss issues publicly. You can be part of the discussion by participating in the Reader Forum. Please limit your submissions to 600 words. They will be edited for length and clarity. They must be signed and in- COMMENTMY ing their bodies in the street are Zar- qawi's progeny. He gleefully pointed to their murderous work as justification for even more killing by Sunnis, toward a full-scale civil war making Iraq a nation a Hieronymus Bosch painting, an Arab Rwanda choking on its own blood. The word for this vision is "evil." It has become fashionable, in light of the setbacks we've suffered in Iraq, to regret President George Bush's black-and- white, good-and-evil view of the world. In his new book, "The Good Fight," writer Peter Beinart argues that one of the great strengths of liberal foreign policy is that it is unburdened by such simplistic reckonings. But sometimes the ledger is indeed quite simple — with Zarqawi's demise, the sum total of evil in the world is now a little less. Everyone professes to know this. But some know it more than others. Otherwise a significant Democrat such as John Kerry wouldn't be advocating a full U.S. pullout from Iraq. Until Iraqi forces can carry the load, a pullout means abandoning the field to the likes of Zar- qawi. If last week Kerry had been given a magic wand to wave and make all U.S. troops disappear from Iraq instantly, elude a name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. We reserve the right not to print a submission. We do not accept for publication on the editorial page poems, consumer complaints, business testimonials or Zarqawi almost certainly would be alive right now. There would have been no one to send F-l6s to drop two 500-pound bombs on his head. Within hours of the news breaking of Zarqawi's death, Rep. John Murtha was on CNN saying we should leave Iraq and let the Iraqis work out their civil war just the way we worked out ours. Of course, 600,000 died in our Civil War. And the Iraqis "working it out" would be accomplished with truck bombs and ethnic cleansing. Humanitarian considerations aside, the stakes in Iraq are incalculably large. If many politicians in the United States have never realized this, Zarqawi always did. He knew the advent of decent government in the Arab world would be a blow to the ideology of terror, hence his ultimate strategic goal of forestalling it with mayhem and slaughter. We don't know if we will prevail in Iraq, and there is argument over the means of doing it — should our tactics be harsher or softer? — but there's is no doubt about how to lose: pull out prematurely. That's why Kerry, Murtha, et al., are effectively advocates of defeat. From beyond the grave, Zarqawi can only wish that the Democrats for a pullout had been able to effect their preferred policy already. Then this loathsome man who so needed killing instead would still be working his evil will. Rich Lowry Is editor of the Nations! Review. commonta.lowry&rtatlon(ilr9Vl9W,<iom group letters. Mail them to Reader Forum, The Hays Daily News, 507 Main, Hays K8 67601 .You also can send them by e-mail at readerforum®dallyn0ws,nit Please include an address and daytime telephone number.
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