Letters to the Editor - December 22, 2011

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Thank you
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the participants, entertainers, workers and attendees at the annual Christmas Festivities sponsored by the City of Webster on Saturday, Dec. 10.
This was one of the largest and best attended Christmas events in recent memory. Please, accept our apology for the shortage of refreshments.
Hopefully, this won’t happen again.
Here’s wishing everyone the best of holidays including Christmas, Hannukah, Sheker Bayram and the New Year 2012!
Michael Harris, Parks & Recreation
City of Webster Commission

Thanks to all the City of Coleman voters who participated in the election process. I thank all of you who voted for me, all of you who prayed with me, all of you who believed in me, and all of you whose trust in government may have been restored a little.
I will continue to advocate for what I feel is right for the whole community of Coleman, my only “agenda” is to work for you and with you. If you have any questions about something you heard I did, you think I did, please get my number from City Hall and I will meet you at City Hall to discuss it with facts and proof.
I look forward to working with anyone who wants to work with me to move Coleman forward for future generations.
Thanks to God for always never leaving me or forsaking me.
Cynthia D. Martin,
Coleman city
councilwoman, Seat 3.
Airpower:  Looking
forward to 2012
As we prepare to embark on the adventures of a new year, we must take with us the memories of 2011.  We must reflect on all the achievements and successes, disappointments and mishaps, and the warning signs that have been brought to the attention of our nation.
Our U. S. military continues its strong role in global humanitarian missions, coming to the aid of a devastated Japan earlier in March.  We delivered hope with our airlift capabilities and saved lives with our aeromedical evacuation.
We’ve had military accomplishments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, including the killing of Osama bin Laden and many other top al-Qaeda leaders.  Also, the support of the U. S. airpower was instrumental to the success of the end of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi’s regime.
We’ve begun the withdrawal of U. S. troops from Iraq, hoping to have them all home by the year’s official end.  We’ve seen the nation take a strong stand on behalf of our veterans, passing the bipartisan “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” that aims to lower the rate of unemployment among our nation’s veterans.
But we can’t forget the losses of devoted service members in the air and on the grounds of Afghanistan and Iraq.
As asymmetric threats around the world continue to emerge, there comes an increased pressure to adequately provide for the defense of this nation and it’s allies.  At the same time, our country is battling devastating budget cuts leaving senior military leaders with tough choices to make.  With this in mind, 2012 could be a very pivotal year for the nation, its defense capabilities and the U. S. Air Force.
Now that the Super Committee didn’t turn out to be all that super, we have a year to get this right before sequestration kicks in.  In other terms, we have a year to strategically plan what presence we want to display globally.  We have a year to decide what’s important to our defense, what we can afford to cut and what we can afford to disregard.
But, when we debate potential cuts, we must not ignore warning signs.  Just last week Chinese President Hu Jintao urged their navy to prepare for military combat, in the midst of growing regional tensions over maritime disputes.  North Korea is claiming progression on a nuclear facility, U. S. relations with Pakistan continue to decline, prospects of Iran having nuclear weapons continue to increase.  And we don’t know what kind of government we leave behind in Iraq.  Also, the effects of uprisings in the Arab Spring on U.S. interests have yet to be revealed.
So when we deliberate on what capabilities we need, these budget cuts must be made with a degree of caution.  Yes, the nation is in economic hard times and budget cuts must be made.  I don’t believe defense should necessarily be exempt from those cuts.  But, precautions must be made.  Don’t eliminate or neglect capabilities vital to this nation’s defense and prosperity.  Our budget must reflect realistic priorities.
The reality is that warfare is changing.  Traditional land and sea power are joined with irreplaceable air power and increasing importance in the cyber domain.  So as the New Year starts, we must keep our eyes open.  We failed in the 1930’s to heed the warnings of Billy Mitchell about Japan and thought Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, a joke.  We’ve been getting warning signs now from adversaries abroad, so let’s make sure we heed them this time as we reshape our defense.
Mike Emig
Air Force Association