Letters to the Editor

Parents can make the difference

To the editor:

When trusted adults, like a congressman, a teacher, an entertainer, a state trooper, coach, priest, stepfather or uncle, misuse their positions of trust and authority to exploit and harm children, we all lose. In the face of that authority, what is a parent to do when a child comes to him with a report of behavior that is at very least “uncomfortable”?

The wrong things a parent can do is to ignore the child, for denying the existence of the wrong behavior and doing nothing about it causes more harm to the child. Denying the child’s word is tantamount to denying the existence of the child, his ability to trust adults and institutions that deserve that trust. Not everyone is a sexual predator. What compounds the problem is that some predators are protected because of their positions of trust and authority.

The right things parents can do:

• Keep lines of communication open — even, and especially, about the taboo subject of sex. For it is secrecy and shame that allows wrong, and criminal behavior, to flourish.

• Talk with other parents discretely; find out if another child has shared something.

• Find some “proof” — in our society, e-mails work, as do gifts, invitations to “special” events, overnight trips.

• Remember, above all, that as much as you love your child and want to be with him or her, be highly suspicious of ANY adult who wants to spend more time with your child than you do!

Report what you suspect and know to the authorities. Remember many times the police are hearing from others and simply don’t have enough evidence, yet, to proceed.

Keeping children safe is a responsibility we all share and help parents and families cope with increasing kinds of potential risk that face children. Communities prosper when families are strong and children are safe.

Karen Carpenter
Executive Director
N.H. Children’s Trust Fund

Iraq undermines war on terror

To the editor:

Last month, the government released a previously secret intelligence report stating that the war in Iraq has actually strengthened terrorist networks worldwide. The president reacted by accusing the intelligence community of accepting enemy propaganda. According to Mr. Bush, “You do not create terrorism by fighting terrorism.”

As a retired CIA intelligence officer, I was shocked by this twisted logic. The National Intelligence Estimate on Global Terrorism was unequivocal. “The Iraq conflict has become a ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.

Al-Qa’ida is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new donors and to maintain its leadership role.”

According to the NIE, four underlying factors fuel the spread of the movement:

1. Corruption, injustices and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation and sense of powerlessness

2. The Iraq “Jihad”

3. The slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations

4. Pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most Muslims – all of which the jihadists exploit.

Within Iraq, the Bush administration’s policies have created a breeding ground for terrorists. Iraqi unemployment exceeds 60 percent, and inflation 70 percent, according to Iraq’s planning minister. U.S. contractors continue to hire non-Iraqi personnel to perform services that Iraqis are capable and willing to provide. While we spend $11 million per hour on the war on terrorism, basic services in Iraq remain well below their pre-Saddam levels.

It worries me greatly that the president and many of his allies in Congress still seem unable to understand the simple fact that the war in Iraq has greatly undermined the battle against global terrorism. Until they can come to grips with the enormity of this mistake, the world will become a much more dangerous place for all of us.

Bob Vincent

Categories: News