Letters for January 4, 2007

Who’s in charge?
When Don Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense, he said that there were enough troops in Iraq, and if more troops were needed, the generals in the field would ask for more. The generals said there were enough troops on the ground to accomplish the mission.

Now that Rumsfeld has left the building, and Robert Gates has entered, word is drifting down from the White House that more troops may be needed, and the generals in the field are slowly echoing the White House.

I’m just wondering about who’s in charge of actually running the war. Are the commanders in the field able to voice their opinions and tell the Secretary of Defense and the White House what they really want, or are they parroting back up the chain of command what they think Bush wants to hear? The generals have spent their entire military careers studying military operations looking for the best outcome and victory while the commander in chief spent a few missing years in the National Guard.

If more troops are needed, why didn’t the generals inform Rumsfeld? If more troops aren’t needed, why don’t they tell Gates?

Who’s running the war, the people with the training who are afraid to speak up or the politicians without the military training?

Dewey Quong

Hook needs Economics 101
Re “High taxes hurt jobs and the little guy” (Right Hook, Dec. 7):

Mike Lafferty’s column “High taxes hurt jobs and the little guy” was wrong,wrong, wrong—as is usually the case on a weekly basis. Sometimes his elitist musings have an element of truth hidden deep somewhere inside, but this is not one of those times. It is no coincidence that his ideological counterpart on the AM radio waves also hosts a show with UFOs, paranormal hucksters and conspiracy theorists. Lafferty’s assertion that high taxes hurt jobs and the little guy is about as believable as the Roswell incident.

His whining about being told what to pay “an employee with zero job skills” ignores the huge success the minimum wage has had since its inception of keeping the currency and economy stable. Smart economists and foreign investors know that consumption (as a whole for the nation) is always going to be at a certain stable level in countries that have a minimum wage. This is part of the Keynesian Aggregate Demand Equation that we still use in Macroeconomics economics classes in college.

I propose that the next economics professor who says we should abolish the minimum wage so that more people can be hired lead the way by taking a pay cut so that more graduate teaching assistants could be hired. Until they are willing to practice what they preach, the talk of abolishing the minimum wage remains sophistry.

Pay cuts at the very top instead of merely passing the cost onto working people, as is usually done, seems that it would be a much better way for companies to stay profitable. Democratic strategies don’t drive anyone offshore. Greedy CEOs who want to increase their take on already obscene salaries have more to do with that decision.

Russell G. Davis

Mizpah responsibility
Re “Just a few questions” (Editorial, Nov. 23):

Your editorial on the Mizpah fire just makes me shake my head in wonder. I will never understand the liberal mind: It’s everyone’s fault that the fire killed and dispossessed so many. Not a word that Valerie Moore is completely at fault since she started the fire. She is 100 percent responsible and needs to answer to the full power of the law and receive the death penalty. She should not sit around and be a meal ticket for lawyers who keep her alive for years; her death should be swift.

First, there are many dedicated veterans groups, along with the Veterans Administration, who have staff that help all veterans with a wide range of issues. Help is there; they have to get it.

Second, since the beginning of fire service, there have been people who always say, “It took so long to get here.” Let’s make it the fire department’s fault. Dispatch marks the time for each step of the process, from when the call comes in, to the first equipment on scene and each step of the fire-fighting process until the last unit leaves the scene. Over the years, there is always a moron who questions the fire department’s times. It takes a certain amount of time to work the call, notify the correct fire stations and the equipment to be manned and moving through traffic to the scene. Duh.

Third, now it’s the police’s fault that they did not remove Valerie Moore from the building. Why she was out of prison with her record is the real question.

The Mizpah is a historic Reno building that has been well-maintained over the years and, as you noted, was being renovated, which would keep it a quality location in downtown Reno. The destruction of the Mizpah is a real loss to Reno where we do not have many old buildings left. Valerie Moore lit the match—the mattresses, the building permit, the renovation did not light that match.

John Ryczkowski

Re “Exposed life” (Art of the State, Dec. 28):

In a review of photographer David Muskin’s work, we reported his home was full of vintage “ping pong” machines. This is incorrect. It should have read “pinball” machines. We apologize for any confusion our error caused. This has been corrected on the Web site.