What happened?

Nine Saudis and two other Middle-Eastern men, directed by Osama bin Laden, another Saudi, hijacked airplanes and attacked us. Bin Laden, based in Afghanistan, demanded closure of an America military facility in Saudi Arabia.

Thousands died, iconic buildings were destroyed and many showed great courage.

President George W. Bush closed the base, as demanded. We went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the assault on Americans' rights and freedoms began with the Patriot Act.

Our economy has been crippled by billions spent in these wars. Americans of particular religions, regardless of their country of origin, are subjected to increased surveillance, bigotry and harassment.

Nanna can't knit while flying to see the grandchildren; Papa's Depends are suspect; and those declining a digital rape must agree to be groped unless they want to walk across the country.

The National Security Agency works with telecom companies, monitoring phone calls and e-mails of Americans without a warrant.

Guantanamo, our very own Gulag, keeps people indefinitely -- without charges, without trial. Our former president and vice president brag about authorizing torture and go free.

What happened on Sept. 11 was horrible. What has happened since is even worse. The terrorists won; they succeeded in destroying our American way of life.

Sheila Smith

Hercules


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Unloved GOP

The Times is right, of course, that the root Republican grievance is that Californians have stopped loving us, hence the eroding party registration, Until we can turn that trend around, if we can, we are likely to remain whining and disconsolate.

Nevertheless, it behooves our leader Tom Del Beccaro to pursue all avenues to attempt to help our situation. His gambits may not work, and if not, so be it. At least, we are right to try.

It is your right not to like it, but it is certainly our right to pursue remedies in the courts for actual or imagined grievances. Let the chips fall where they may.

But the root cause is our unlovableness over the last several decades.

Earl Turner

Walnut Creek

Fighting AIDS

Uganda's proactive stance against homosexuality is because it has the highest number of orphans in the world, at least 2 million, because of AIDS. Those most infected are age 15-49, who are in their prime working years. As a result, Uganda's labor force and industry have been dramatically curtailed.

Schools, families, social services, etc., are all suffering. AIDS cost Uganda nearly $1 billion in 2002. It has a medical crisis. Fifty percent of patients in hospital beds are sick and dying from AIDS.

The Ugandan government is trying to keep more citizens from being infected because of the high-risk behavior of gays. Should government officials stand by and let millions of innocent citizens die and children become orphaned because some say the officials are homophobic?

Unlike America, Uganda doesn't tout homosexuality in schools and society as normal sexual behavior, because normal sexual behavior does not result in HIV/AIDS epidemics like Uganda's people are suffering from.

Their government has the right as it sees fit to enact laws to eradicate and control the devastation this behavior has caused its people and country.

George Munoz

Antioch

Funding folly

Elisabeth Nardi's Aug. 29 article, "Rossmoor controversy: Events center would be in wrong place, many say," hit many important points.

The beauty and integrity of the community is threatened. The new restaurant on Stanley Dollar Drive providing diners with a beautiful view of trees and greenery, now is in jeopardy. Who wants to look out at a parking lot?

For many, the sight of the golf course's trees and grass provides an oasis of beauty and is a priceless treasure for walkers as well as golfers.

Other residents who swim and use the exercise facilities are dismayed that there are not enough funds to extend hours for those desiring to use said facilities.

If present activities that are valued cannot be sustained properly, is it wise to add another, especially during an economy that has tanked?

Spending millions of dollars to investigate and fund such folly speaks most poorly of those in charge in Rossmoor.

Paula Findlay

Walnut Creek