Tough presidential decisions
George Parry's story of President Obama leading "confused" SEALs into action was plain nonsense, but great reading ("Obama should stop celebrating," Sunday).
Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's D-Day decision was "monumentally difficult." However, on that day, he was safely in England, where the supreme commander of the Allied Forces correctly should be. Difficult decisions are what military commanders make.
Harry Truman, a Democrat, also made a very difficult decision with worldwide consequences from the safety and comfort of his office.
Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, also made a very difficult decision that unfortunately failed. He was man enough to accept the consequences of failure. Decision-making is what presidents do.
Obama, a Democrat, ordered SEALs to attack Osama bin Laden, and gave them credit for their successful, professional performance. Obama went to Afghanistan to show appreciation for the work done by the armed forces.
When did a Republican president make a world-shaking, make-or-break decision lately?
Michael Smerconish concluded that Obama has the right to say, "Mission accomplished" ("Bin Laden mission was a gutsy call," Sunday). His predecessor said the same thing, but a bit prematurely.
Fred B. Bornemann, Glenside
Obama's real accomplishment
George Parry ridicules President Obama for claiming credit for the death of Osama bin Laden, and negatively contrasts him with Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman. An apt comparison would be to George W. Bush, who donned flight gear to wrongly claim victory over Iraq on the USS Abraham Lincoln. Obama had a real accomplishment. Bush crowed prematurely, and achieved little. Parry's memory is very selective.
Tom Mirsen, Cherry Hill, Mirsen-Tom@CooperHealth.edu
Bin Laden death a mistake
It continues to amaze me how the death of Osama bin Laden has become a source of national pride and a national security triumph for the Obama administration. To me, his killing was one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in recent memory. Bin Laden was gunned down rather than captured. He could have been rotting in a military prison right now — a potential source of information and a symbol of the futility of the terrorist war against us. Instead, he is now a martyr whose memory may yet inspire more terrorist acts.
Aside from assuaging the great national yearning for vengeance for 9/11, there is little gained from his death. The handling of the raid on the compound in Abbottabad is a sad testimony to the mind-set of the country and the willingness of the Obama administration to pander to it.
P.M. Procacci, Moorestown
Stop maligning neighbors
Inga Saffron leads her article on the new Barnes building with the tiresome yet oft-repeated fiction that the neighbors chased the Barnes out of Merion, painting a false picture of "residents of adjacent mansions" with oh-so-petty concerns ("A refined building, revelations inside, but apart from city," Sunday).
What were simple "town-and-gown" type conflicts between an institution and residents were addressed at that time by a contract that solved all parking and traffic concerns. In a cynical move to bulldoze the residents, then-board president Richard Glanton tore up the contract and sued neighbors for "civil rights" violations against the foundation. No one has investigated that egregious injustice.
The Philadelphia foundations that funded the Barnes move were interested only in wooing the collection to Philadelphia. Now that the deed is done, can we finally stop maligning the city's closest neighbors?
Ina Asher, Merion
Museum changes neighborhood
We live in the neighborhood, and have walked past the new Barnes site many times over the years. The Callowhill side, before construction began, was an unpleasant string of chain-link fencing, roll-up doors, unaligned aluminum windows, and untended shrubs. The Parkway side had a shortcut path worn diagonally through the grass and trees in front of the Youth Study Center below barred windows of the incarcerated juveniles who yelled out the windows at passersby. There were bums sleeping on benches along the Parkway, and an out-of-proportion bronze sculpture.
Although Inga Saffron makes a sound argument about the placement methodology of the Barnes into its new urban context, given the importance of the project to the city and its contentious history, also noteworthy are the resultant improvements to the aesthetics of the site.
Al DeLucia, Philadelphia
Libertarians' antiwar candidate
By winning the Libertarian presidential nomination, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson provides Americans with the opportunity to vote for an antiwar candidate in the general election. Only Johnson stands committed to reducing excessive military spending and to ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan immediately, not at the end of 2014 or in some indefinite period of time.
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney guarantee involvement in Afghanistan at least through 2014, with Romney allowing for longer involvement. Johnson promises immediate action, bringing our soldiers home, and focusing our military on protecting Americans and American interests. With this redirection comes a reduction of government spending, a necessary step to prevent possible economic collapse and to begin rebuilding the U.S. economy.
Johnson believes that U.S. nation-building efforts should serve one nation: the United States of America. In November, Johnson is the one clear choice for effective, responsible government that directly benefits the American people.
Barclay Cunningham, Lansdale
Pa. policy mirrors TV sitcom
Karen Heller's delineation of the state's determination to close Philadelphia's Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, with its devastating impact on patrons, was echoed in a sitcom last week ("How to shelve a library plan" - Sunday). Amy Poehler's character in Parks and Recreation was running for town council and the last, emphatic plank in her platform was, "To finally close the town library." It seems the absurdities of television have finally become the real Pennsylvania. I hope we're made an example of by late-night comedians, because we're asking for it.
James Miles, Collingdale, firstname.lastname@example.org
Open primaries or no funding help
The result of the current primary election system is that we are only offered candidates who lean to the far extremes of the respective parties. There is very little chance to vote for moderate candidates who are willing to work together. In the present system, party loyalty comes before promoting the general welfare (which is mentioned twice in the U.S. Constitution) and putting the interests of citizens first.
The writer of the letter "No open primary" (Saturday) takes the position that one should be a member of a party in order to participate in that party's selection of candidates. My response to that is, let the parties fund their own primary/convention selection process. Don't use tax dollars.