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January 28, 2016

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Page 2 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES St. Paul, Va. Thursday, January 28, 2016 Of shoes..and ships..and sealing wax.. The new strategy Reprinted from January 18, 2007 Certainly not a military strategist, I haven't figured out the original Strategy or any of the subsequent strate- gies, other than to conclude early on that the whole thing was about guaranteeing that the United States would have an undisturbed oil supply. I don't recall that oil was ever mentioned during the stated objectives of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," which was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism and to free the Iraqi people." Nevertheless, I've thought all along that oil was the principal motivator of our being in Iraq in the first place. Perhaps I've become a cynic. Or maybe a more accurate tag is realist. It's absolutely unfathomable to me that we are about to send another 21,500 young men and women to Iraq when that effort has already killed more than 3,000 of our finest, each of whom, remem- ber, was a son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt--in other words, there are more than 3,000 families which have already been devastated by this horrible war, even though no progress has been made toward its conclusion. An announcement was made just this week revealed that 35,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during 2006 (The Iraqi government estimated 12,000), and another 36,000 were wounded. Those appalling figures alone cancel the "free the Iraqi peo- ple" element of the original "objectives" stated as the reasons for the war. The president continues ,to talk about achieving vic- tory, yet nobody has ever explained to me just exactly how to define "victory" in this context. I was a small child during World War II, yet even then, I understood what "victory" meant. The way of life in the United States (and the world, for that matter) was being assaulted by Hitler, a maniac who sought world domi- nation, and the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. "Victory" during that time meant defeating Hitler's armies and overwhelming the Japanese. We were set on protecting ourselves, and our focus on resources, talent, concen- tration and total dedication was successful. Hitler and Hirohito were defeated and the United States and Europe were safe. As far as I'm aware, people in the countries of the Middle East have been fighting each other for cen- turies-millennia, actually. Religious extremists as well as those with ethnic and cultural differences have been at odds there since Biblical times. Yet the President of the United States, without even United Nations approval, sent troops into Iraq to save the world. Extended "inspection," supported by battle- field tactics, revealed no weapons of mass destruction. In fact, we learned some time after the effort to find WMD failed that Washington had known before we went to Iraq that Saddam Hussein had no such weapons. The next thing we heard was that we were going to help Iraq become a democracy. Hello? Where is it writ- ten that the United States has as one of its missions the creation of democracies throughout the world? The maintenance of our own democracy, of course! That's what the Civil War, World War I and World War II were all about. Perhaps that even figured into Korea, although it's questionable when discussing Vietnam, and positively irrelevant in a conversation about Iraq. If the majority of those in Iraq had indicated that they were interested in having their country become a democracy, then we would have sent advisors. Sending 100,000 soldiers, however, wasn't the way to go about it. Even though a number of Iraqis voted during the "free election," there are still far too many who are quite opposed, evidently, to allowing the majority to rule. (At some point, after expressing distress that so many people were calling the situation in Iraq a civil war, official Washington evidently accepted that quite possibly, two segments of the population of a single nation who were making war on each other just might be defined as a civil war, and so finally began calling it that.) The Iraqis who opposed the government have spent several years going through the country, primari- ly the city of Baghdad, driving suicide cars loaded with bombs into buildings, restaurants, markets, schools and whatever other sort of place might house a number of people who are on the "other" side. That's just not quite how democracy's supposed to work, and underlines the "Civil War" aspect of the conflict. Even unpalatable decisions, if made by th majority are accepted in the United States, however unpleasant they may be. A prime example is the 2004 election, which, even though it contained questionable elements (such as the opinions of the Florida attomey general and the Florida Supreme Court), the final decision was accepted. At this point, of course, it's an extremely unpopular one, but thank goodness we haven't seen American citizens running their automobiles loaded with bombs into public places so as to kill themselves and others. That's just not what democracy's about! The Iraq Study Group (the Baker-Hamilton Commission), made up of ten honored and distin- guished Republicans and Democrats, was appointed March 15, 2006, to develop a list of strategies which could be implemented to help conclude the Iraq situa- tion and get all those Americans back home. The presi- dent has evidently dismissed almost all their ideas, and decided to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Baghdad so we can "achieve victory." Beyond that, the president in his recent speech very carefully outlined just exactly how and where these troops would be deployed, and how their being there would make every- thing better-then put the responsibility for success on the Iraqi government. I'm sure the insurgents (or what- ever they're being called) took in all this information, and immediately began planning their counter strate- gies. Even though the Iraq War, which began with the U.S. invasion of the country March 20, 2003 was declared over by the president on May 1, 2003, it's been more of the same ever since--with no visible progress. It seems to me that we need to concentrate on coming up with an alternate fuel (Congressman Boucher's idea of using agricultural waste seems reasonable), forget about Iraq's oil and get our people out of there! .I can't see that ki~ling another three thousand----or six thousand---or nine thousand--Americans--and heaven knows how many native civilians--will add anything toward the resolution of conflict in Iraq. Senator Chafin General Assembly Session Update Senator Ben Chafin The second week of ses- sion was marked with over a foot of snow in the capi- tol city. Due to the snow, the Senate did not convene on Friday, January 22nd, and the roads were just starting to fully clear up on the following Monday. Despite the snow, the sec- ond week of session is always one my favorites because I get to see SO many familiar faces from back home. During the second week, many mem- bers of the local govern- ments, school systems, and industrial development authorities from the coal- field counties make the trip to Richmond. It is always a treat to have good folks from Southwest Virginia visit the General Assembly. Even though Governor McAuliffe has threatened to veto any legislation advancing gun rights, we are still hard at work trying to overturn the actions of the Attorney General tak- ing away reciprocity from all but five states. I have co-sponsored several pieces of legislation aiming to protect the Second Amendment including Senate Bill 610. In addi- tion to the 21 Republicans in the Senate, we have 3 Democrats supporting the bill as well. With 24 out of 40 Senators supporting the bill, we are only 3 short of the 27 votes needed to overturn a veto. We will be working across the aisle in the coming weeks to gain the support we need. During last week before the deadline for submitting new legislation, I intro- duced two key pieces of legislation for Southwest Virginia. First, Senator Carrico and I have spon- sored legislation to extend the coalfield employment tax credits for burning Virginia coal here in Virginia. If the tax credit is allowed to lapse, over one thousand jobs are in jeop- ardy in and related to the coal industry. It will be a sad day in Southwest "Virginia if these tax credits expire and electric compa- nies have to look to Kentucky, West Virginia, and other states to purchase coal. Senator Carrico and I will be working hard to fight for this legislation and convince the Governor to sign it into law. In addition to the coal- field tax credits, I have introduced legislation to allow the commercial growing of industrial hemp when Federal law allows it. Industrial hemp can be used in over 25,000 prod- ucts including food, tex- tiles, building materials, and biofuels. The total retail value of hemp prod- ucts sold in the United States in 2014 was 620 mil- lion dollars even though growing it is prohibited by federal law. Industrial hemp has the potential to be a cash crop in regions like Southwest Virginia where tobacco used to be the main crop. If my legis- lation passes and it becomes legal under feder- al law, industrial hemp could be a boom for agri- culture in Virginia. According to the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition, there are several interna- tional companies looking to Virginia to locate if hemp can legally be grown. Thank you for your con- tinued support. It is an honor to represent Southwest Virginia in the General Assembly. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your questions and comments during ses- sion. Be on the lookout for my weekly General Assembly Session update in your local paper and on my Facebook page. Please contact our office by phone at 276-889-1044 or by email at district38@sen- Items of Interest... Homestead (~geries workshops: February 18- Beginning Beekeeping; March 17-Backyard Poultry; April 21-Back Country Navigation Using a Map and Compass; May 19-Edible Wild Plants; June 16-Amateur Radio. Workshops are free and open to the public For more information or to register contact Extension Agent Phil Meeks at 276-328-6194 or Workshops sponsored by: Virginia Cooperative Extension-Wise County and Norton Community Center- Norton Parks & Recreation. Genealogy Help Night February 11, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Washington County-Jonesborough Library, 200 Sabin Drive, Jonesborough, TN. The Jonesborough Genealogical Society will host a Genealogy Help Night on Thursday February 11, 2016, from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Washington County Tennessee Public Library, 200 Sabin Drive, Jonesborough, TN Genealogy Day" Tips 4 Beginning Your Genealogy February 27, 2016 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm Chester Inn Museum Board Room, 116 Main St, Jonesborough, TN. The Jonesborough Genealogical Society will host its February Genealogy Day on Saturday, February 27th at 9:30 am at the Chester Inn Board Room. This meeting will be about starting your genealogy research. For more information on our book, genealogy days, or JGS, please visit our website,, or email, Gene Hurdt, .or Chad Bailey, chad- What it will take to address income inequality by Lee H. Hamilton When the history of this year's presidential cam- paign is written, one of its more remarkable features will be that candidates of both parties feel it neces- sary to talk about income inequality. Surely that makes this a watershed moment. The issue is hardly new. As historian and writer Jill Lepore pointed out last year, income inequality in the United States has been rising since the late 1960s.. As she put it, "The evi- dence that income inequal- ity in the United States has been growing for decades and is greater than in any other developed democra- cy is not much disputed." More notable is that it has become a defining issue of our day, with Republican candidates seizing on it just as avidly as Democrats -- though with different views of its causes and solutions. Some reformist Republicans have argued for some time now for the right mix of public policies to give poor and middle-income Americans more opportu- nity without shifting power to the federal government. On the Democratic side, as expected, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton press for a firmer public stance to redress the problem. No one suggests there are easy solutions. To be sure, there are politicians, especially on the right, who believe there's not much room for public action. Market forces will sort it all out, they argue. In this telling, inequality has come about because of globalization and technological changes that are unstoppable and that on the whole have raised living standards. Eventually, they believe, the gap between the high- est earners and the rest of us will diminish. Instead of fighting inequality, we should be protecting and expanding the rewards for skill, leadership and entre- preneurship. This argument assumes that the very wealthy won't act to tilt the field even more in their favor. Yet as the New York "Fimes noted last month, they are doing just that. "With inequality at its highest levels in near- ly a century," the newspa- per wrote, "the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonish- ingly effective apparatus for shielding their for- tunes .... Operating largely out of public view.., the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whit- tle away at the govern- ment's ability to tax them." Yet some reform-mind- ed conservatives agree with Democrats on at least one point, which is that government needs to act to achieve greater fairness and opportunity in the economy. The stresses we see in our political system today -- free-floating pub- lic anger and distrust of government and large insti- tutions -- stem at least in part from the widespread perception that economic insecurity has become entrenched in our system and there's very little ordi- nary people can do about it. If inequality continues to grow, the stress on the system will ratchet ever tighter. No one is arguing for a straight-ahead equalization of economic resources, which would not just require extreme restric- tions on personal freedom, but would almost certainly hamstring economic growth. Nor, however, should government make the problem worse -- which is what some politi- cians' call for further tax reductions on the richest would do. There are some hroad directions we should be moving to ensure a degree of fairness. Current trends are not inevitable if citi- zens are determined to reduce the influence and power of money on the system. We need to shift resources to education and workforce training, though that will take time to pro- duce change. Encouraging technological change that boosts unskilled employ- ment -- rather than strip- ping it away m will matter. So will protecting the pro- gressivity of the income tax, encouraging the well- to-do to follow the excel- lent examples of their peers who are sharing their wealth, focusing on trade deals that favor workers and not just the business community, and providing incentives for people of ordinary means to save and invest. We need to promote policies that help all chil- dren advance, and discour- age efforts to .further con- centrate wealth. These are incremental Changes requiring limited govern- ment action. A reduction in inequali- ty is an essential ingredient in a healthy democracy. To let the gap between rich and ordinary Americans grow larger Will allow political pressures to build in our economic and politi- cal systems. We should aim for a country where oppor- tunities are more equal and the distribution of wealth and income is fairer. Lee Hamilton is a Distinguished Scholar, Indiana University School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. Subscribe to the Times! 276-762-7671 Clinch Valley Times MEMBER VIRGINIA PRESS ASSOCIATION Published weekly in St. Paul VA 24283, by the CLINCH VALLEY PUBLISHING CO., ~'C. The Clinch Valley Times se~'es the fom'-cotmty area of Vise, Russell, Dickenson and Scott, with offices ~d plato located in the CLINCH VALLEY TIMES bltilding, 16541 Russell Street. Periodicals postage is pMd at the Post Office in St. Paul, VA 24283 Allen Gregory Editor/Adv. Susan Trent Adv./Graphics ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS: In advance: $28.50 mWise and Russell Cotmties; $30.00 in other 24- zip-codes; elsewhere $32.50. 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