Books show Guantanamo has been detrimental to US
To understand how detrimental the military prison in Guantanamo has been to our country, one needs to read these two books: “Murder at Camp Delta” by Staff Sgt. Joseph Hickman, and “For God and Country” by Capt. James Yee.
Many of the detainees who are still in Gitmo, and many that passed through that repeat of Abu Ghraib, will return to the battlefield against U.S. troops. These people were treated with the utmost disregard for human rights by U.S. service personnel with the approval of our government.
The CIA admitted that it didn’t know why some of these men had been arrested. Some were in the wrong place, or were turned in for a bounty payment or to settle old grievances. Vetting the men in-country before transporting to Cuba was not important, but numbers were.
"The Black Banners" is a must read for anyone who wants to understand how the use of torture is counterproductive.
Vince Staley, U.S. Navy/U.S. Coast Guard Reserve (retired), Sarasota
Several reasons to vote against extra school funding
The Sarasota County School Board is dismayed at the exchange of letters between a board member and the superintendent. The concern is that it may have a negative impact on the March vote on retaining the additional $55 million each year for school funding.
The board members should be more concerned that Superintendent Todd Bowden was the wrong choice in the first place, given the cloud of sexual harassment that surrounded the candidate. If the selection were being made in the current #MeToo environment, he would not be selected and would be lucky to still be employed.
They should also be concerned that Bowden made a very poor choice in hiring for the school district the same public relations firm that defended him against the harassment charges. The agency was soon fired for posting false comments that were certainly unethical.
They should be particularly concerned that, following Hurricane Irma, students did not have to make up the lost time. Many of us are used to making up "snow days" and not getting paid time off. Despite the spin to justify the decision to not make up the lost hours in class, it is was a very poor decision.
It has not been proven that there is a relationship between money spent and educational standards. On a global level we are consistently outperformed by other countries that spend far less than we do. I will vote in March not to extend the additional funding.
Barry Harris, Sarasota
Several reasons to vote for extra school funding
The Sarasota School District referendum is around the corner and once again I am being asked to renew it. Even though I have no children or grandchildren in the local schools, I gladly support the referendum for several reasons.
First of all, the quality of educational opportunities provided to the students in our schools is the best in the state of Florida. The academic achievements and vocational success of our students are outstanding!
I want to ensure that the paramedic, law enforcement officer and nurse are there to help me if I need them, and that the electrician, plumber and accountant I use have more than a basic education the state provides. I want them to be good thinkers and problem-solvers. My life, my home, my finances may depend on it.
Second, when I sell my home, I want my property values to increase because the community was wise to support better schools.
Third, the children in school today are our future leaders. I want to ensure that they know how to be good stewards of our finances and government at all levels, so my descendants enjoy the finest qualities of this great country of ours, for years to come.
Vote "Yes" on March 20 to continue the 1-mill special tax for Sarasota County public schools and keep this district one of the best in the state of Florida!
H. Murray Blueglass, Longboat Key
All Faiths Food Bank deserves our support
My late wife, Alexandra, would have been so pleased to see Tom Tryon’s column Sunday.
She was a strong advocate for the homeless and other causes of injustice (and a frequent letter writer to the Herald-Tribune).
We both have been strong supporters of the All Faiths Food Bank, and I continue to be one. What could be a worthier cause than feeding hungry children?
And now they are providing one-stop shopping for other needed services for poor and homeless persons.
I urge all your readers to contribute to the All Faiths Food Bank, the most worthy organization in Sarasota County.
Bob Metzger, Nokomis