Obama's successes

I wonder if any congressional Republican or GOP presidential candidate would dare give credit to President Obama for a foreign policy triumph, finally ending our senseless war in Iraq ("A bipartisan effort doomed misadventure in Iraq," Dec. 18). The war not only inflicted massive casualties on our soldiers and innocent Iraqis, but was fought with hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars.

I regret that our withdrawal did not occur sooner, but better late than never. Does anyone believe that if George W. Bush were still president that we would be exiting Iraq this month?

Obama has completed a good deal of work in the foreign policy arena that the Bush administration pledged to do but did not bring to fruition, including the daring and spectacular elimination of Osama bin Laden. It is regrettable that the hyperpartisan political environment in which we live precludes those on the opposite side of the aisle from recognizing not only Obama's many failures but also his successes.

Oren M. Spiegler, Upper St. Clair, Pa.

A GOP effort through and through

In response to "A bipartisan effort doomed misadventure in Iraq" (Dec. 18), the Democrats may not have been perfect, from those who moronically voted in October 2002 to authorize George W. Bush to use force through President Obama's handling of the situation in Iraq. But there is no equivalence here. The stupidity of Bush, the arrogance of Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, the willingness to go along of Colin Powell, the vapidity of Condoleezza Rice, and the dishonesty of Dick Cheney that led us into this ill-fated war of choice were GOP through and through.

Thomas J. Lees, Lafayette Hill, tlees2@aol.com

Child-abuse allegations unforgivable

No one admired or enjoyed Bill Conlin's baseball writing in the 1970s and 1980s more than I. He was one of the best baseball writers in the country, if not the best. And he even was a member of a TV panel that interviewed me for a book I wrote.

Yes, he is presumed innocent, but the allegations against him by numerous women and men, who accuse him of molesting them when they where children, are odious, despicable, and unforgivable ("Another woman accuses columnist," Thursday).

We should change the laws regarding child molestation. There ought to be no statue of limitation on such heinous crimes.

Robert Cherry, Wynnewood

Instructions to the devil

Since Bill Conlin won't need the iconic opening line he used for many of his columns anymore, I'm stealing it.

"When I'm king of the world" ... I won't need a judge to tell me that former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky and former Daily News columnist Bill Conlin are pathetic, despicable, remorseless old men. I've already instructed Satan to ratchet up the heat when these two are finally consigned to the flames of hell.

Kenneth M. Foti, Malvern

Debt relief and Keynesian policies

It is no surprise that Mark Zandi's 2011 economic projection was off the mark and I won't be any more surprised to see a similar mea culpa this time next year ("Long-run optimism, but for now ...," Dec. 18). What is sadly missing from Zandi's column is any realistic policy recommendation for dealing with the substantial economic threats we face since European "fiscal discipline" is most certainly not it.

I would strongly suggest Zandi sit down and read David Graeber's book Debt: The First 5,000 Years, and then take a stab at the prospects for a debt jubilee, together with some good old Keynesian expansionist policy as the only real option to get the economies of both Europe and America moving again.

If the prime objective of both U.S. and EU policy-makers continues to be sheltering their mega-banks from taking the haircuts they so justly deserve, then we most certainly will see further economic deterioration and ever widespread suffering among the 99 percent.

Joe Magid, Wynnewood

Get rid of the LCB

Thank you, Dawn Meling, for writing an article, "Ad campaign highlights the LCB's conflict of interest" (Dec. 18), that I wish I had written regarding the anachronistic Liquor Control Board. Meling points out the idiocy of promoting abstention and promoting the sale of liquor at the same time.

The only issue I have with the article is the last paragraph, which states that Pennsylvania should remove the LCB from its conflict-of-interest position. The state should remove the LCB, period.

Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington, ralphdbloch@yahoo.com

Diversity of students at Woodmere

The article describing William Valerio's new leadership of the Woodmere in Chestnut Hill was a welcome exposition of the collection's expansion and forward-looking vision ("Opening Woodmere to the current Phila. art scene," Dec. 18). However, I was dismayed by the totally inaccurate cliché about "bluebloods staring at easels, their Lexuses parked outside." My class, with an excellent teacher, has students from all over the region and I don't remember seeing a single Lexus. I ride the Route 23 bus from Germantown and am frequently given a ride by a group that car-pools.

More to the point, the classes have a reasonable tuition and welcome beginners as well as experienced artists. Many students, but not all, are retired, some work part time, some are between careers. We learn much from each other and our diverse interests and backgrounds.

Ruth A. Seeley, Philadelphia

Attacks on human rights

Kevin Riordan's article on the Pitman Christmas banner ("Pitmanites ask: What's the big deal?") and Jonathan Turley's "Cracking down on free speech in the name of religious dogma" (Dec. 18) provided an interesting juxtaposition. Both dealt with freedom of religious expression, and both focused on claims by some that their religious freedom could only be protected by suppressing the religious speech of others. The tragedy lies not only in the similarity of the two cases, but also in the fact that the U.S. government, whether the executive branch or the courts, seems willing to support such blatant violations of human rights, especially where Christian speech is concerned.

Bob Walton, Brookhaven, rwalton@rcwalton.com