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Forum: June 21: Guns and Cars; Dick Cheney; The Lebanon Fire

Dick Cheney on the High Ground

To the Editor:

An open letter to Dick Cheney in response to his June 17 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Cheney, you beat the drums of war a decade ago. Now you fan the flames of the smoldering nation you helped create. You made sure that the Sunni leader, Saddam Hussein, was hunted down, his party leaders driven out, and a Shiite leader was given U.S. support. Now Sunni extremists have returned and threaten the region. Who do you blame? Not the president you talked into war, but the president who ended it.

Mr. Cheney, you employ an old psychological defense: Project blame onto the shoulders of others that belongs to you. History will judge you long after you are done judging this U.S. president, who in your words, “has been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

The veterans who fought in the streets of Fallujah and Bagdad, and their families, not you, are the ones to judge the wisdom of the Iraq War. The only silver lining in the dark cloud that your words produce is that your own president has the decency to keep quiet about who “lost” Iraq. He knows it was the man who beat the drum.

Don McCabe


Who Started Class Warfare?

To the Editor:

Scott Witt closes his letter regarding shopping at the Co-op versus Wal-Mart as “crass warfare.” (“Yes, They Really Are Patronizing,” June 19.)

Not it’s not. Where people shop and how much they spend is solely the business of those who shop and spend. Be it Wal-Mart, the Co-op, Hannaford, Shaw’s, Price Chopper, it’s a choice that people make. Period.

However, Mr. Witt engages in the most reprehensible kind of “them versus us” canard when he refers to the “rich and famous of Norwich and Hanover,” the “snooty foods” of the Co-op, and the “unwashed needy” who shop at Wal-Mart. That’s called class warfare and it is unacceptable because it tries to turn people against each other. He brings nothing to the table other than name calling. What’s the purpose of that kind of dialogue? How does that help? Does he believe that his “class envy approach” will shame some people into not using the Co-op? Is that what he wants to do? From past news stories, it appears that the Co-op has problems. It doesn’t need Mr. Witt to compound what’s already in the news.

I’d suggest that Mr. Witt owes everyone an apology for what he said in his letter. Will he offer it? Who knows?

Alan Tanenbaum


Memories of the Great Fire

To the Editor:

The three-part series on the Great Lebanon Fire 50 years ago brought back old memories of Lebanon. At the time of the fire, I was serving my military duty at the Cold Regions Lab in Hanover, and living in West Lebanon. I had met a wonderful young woman from Germany about six months before the fire. Ingrid and I often would have dinner at Lander’s Restaurant in the tired old building on Mill Street. If we were lucky, we would get a table with a view of the Mascoma River.

I would have a traditional hot turkey sandwich with peas and mashed potatoes and gravy, and Ingrid would choose one of Lander’s Syrian dishes. If we shared a beer, we could both eat for less than $2. After dinner, we would catch a double feature in the balcony at the Lebanon Opera House. The date would cost me less than $2.50 for dinner and the movie — just a bit less than the $2.57 a day that the Army gave me for meals.

On the fateful afternoon of the fire, I heard the news on my car radio while on the way home to my apartment in West Lebanon. I remember driving toward Lebanon and getting as far as the old New Bridge Restaurant on the Miracle Mile before being stopped by the police. They were not allowing any traffic through to downtown Lebanon. There we could see the smoke billowing in the sky.

A few days later I had a chance to see the damage, and of course, to mourn the destruction of my favorite restaurant. Lander’s was later to rebuild on the new Route 120 and for many years was the best family restaurant in the Upper Valley. By then Ingrid and I were married and living in Hanover Center with two young daughters. Lander’s remained our favorite place to eat out.

Ed Chamberlain


Driving Home the Point

To the Editor:

Arthur Stout’s letter comparing guns and cars brings up some interesting points (“Another Gun Tragedy,” June 17). As a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms, I’d say that treating guns like cars would be a big win for gun owners.

The license Mr. Stout likes would cost $50 for five years and requires a one-time test to obtain. Once I get a license in my home state, I can drive anywhere in any of the 50 states, and much of the world, without any further requirement.

So, we’ll do the same for guns: once I get a license in New Hampshire, I can carry a gun anywhere — New York and Canada will love that one. No license is required if you keep a car on your own property, so no jurisdiction will be allowed to require a license or permit to merely own a firearm at your own house. There are no special government-only cars, so there will be no special government-only guns. Machine guns and artillery will be freely available. No background check is required to buy a car. So anyone who wants a firearm will be free to buy one from a dealer or private seller in any state, with no background check, and, just as with cars, felons will be free to have all the guns they want. Car dealers are not required to get a federal license, nor are they subject to periodic random inspections, nor can they be sent to federal prison for simple paperwork errors. So, same for gun dealers. Cars are not only allowed to have mufflers, but are actually required to have them if operated in a public area. So, all gun owners will be required to own a suppressor (aka “silencer”) for any gun they might use in public. I could keep going, but I think the point is made: firearms are regulated far more heavily than cars, already. Licensing would not have changed the outcome in Brentwood, N.H., so I find it rather callous of Mr. Stout to use that tragedy to support his agenda.

Joe Brown