My name is Kenneth Lee Dement. I am currently a resident at the Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau. I came to this facility in October 2000 after suffering a major stroke, affecting my right side and my speech.
I was born in Poplar Bluff and went to school in Sikeston. After attending Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, graduating with a bachelor science degree in marketing, I served with the U.S. Marine Corps as a captain, being discharged honorably in May 1957. I then attended Washington University School of Law in St. Louis from 1958 until 1961, receiving my juris doctorate degree. But I am not writing to tell you about myself.
The reason I am writing to you is my concern for our great country. Being a Marine, I can tell you of the pride I have for this blessed nation. We have accomplished so much in our short history here on this earth. We could not have done it without God watching over us, guiding us on our journey, and not without the sacrifice of many brave soldiers.
As our President, I know you have lain awake many nights contemplating our future as a leader of the free world. I want you to know you have my unswerving, patriotic support in this recent difficult decision you have made. I know this is not a decision made lightly. All of the factors have been weighed carefully again and again. We all need to support our troops and the families they leave behind during this difficult time. I support you 100 percent in your actions and will keep you and my country in my prayers.
I am sending an e-mail to you because I have been so moved by the anti-war protesters and the SpeakOut articles from local people who obviously don't support the United States' position. To be truthful, I was outraged by the news coverage showing the thousands of anti-war protesters. I just couldn't understand why they "didn't get it." I have seen the remarks in the paper that people have made stating that the war is all because of the U.S. and our need for the oil in Iraq. I have heard others who state war is just wrong for humanitarian and civilized reasons. I think these people need to do a little research.
At first, I too was concerned about the possible loss of innocent lives. I am not a barbarian. But, in order to make educated decisions regarding such important events, you must research. You cannot just rely on others to feed you information and expect to know all that you need to know. The situation in Iraq did not just come about in the last four months. The problems have been in Iraq for decades, some of which the U.S. even contributed to during the pre-Cold War days.
One must start from the beginning and walk step by step through Iraq's history to completely understand why war is necessary. One must understand Saddam Hussein and how he works. Saddam Hussein is not a person the average U.S. citizen is used to dealing with. The best way to know him is to picture the worst mafia stereotype possible and then multiply it times one hundred. He is the barbarian. He is a killer. He has no remorse. He will do anything necessary to keep himself as dictator of Iraq, including killing his own people by using chemical weapons, as history has shown. He will allow nothing to get in the way of being the dictator of Iraq. He sees himself as a prophet or God, the rightful leader of all Arabs by divine right.
He went as far as having a genealogist create a family tree linking himself to the Koran and a religious heritage to validate his ideology ( fear and terror is really what keeps him in power). He sees the United States as being a young nation not worthy of the role of world leader. The U.S. is the "infidel." He feels that only a country with a history as long as Iraq's is worthy of this status, according to certain things he understands is promised in the Koran. It is for this reason that he has supported Al-Qaida and their acts of terrorism, which seem to focus on countries that are considered advanced in technology and finances and could also be considered world leaders for having these advances.
Saddam Hussein is the Hitler of the 21st century. We, the people of the United States, cannot in good conscience allow him to continue as the dictator of Iraq or of any nation. We have a responsibility to our fellow human beings living in Iraq, just like we had to the Jewish people in Germany and Europe during World War II.
This is not just about oil. If we care about saving lives then we have no other option but to remove Saddam Hussein from power by whatever means necessary. This should have been done in the 1990s after liberating Kuwait, but it wasn't. We must act for the good of the Iraqi people this time. The United States is taking advantage of the new weaponry that we have that can pinpoint certain locations for destruction while leaving buildings adjacent to them standing unharmed. This results in a limited number of civilian injuries. This is a very brilliant and humanitarian way of removing Saddam Hussein and his Republican Army. The people of the United States should pull together and support our military and our President in this endeavor. We are one nation. United, we will stand strong against terrorism. If we fail, may God help us all.
Gosh! Everybody is trying to motivate the welfare people to get off the couch and go to work. Mr. Editor, you could move to Kuwait; Mr. Montgomery, too. Except over there, you would be too poor to live as the Kuwaitis. You would be considered low-grade. You might get a job washing an oil baron's feet!
My wife and I were on welfare before. We had one child, who is grown and on his own now. We all three work.
I am living proof that an uneducated poor person can get up off the couch, get a GED, a driver's license and a job. But the minimum wage needs to float down the river. What jobs haven't gone to Mexico, have been mechanized to save on labor costs? Tyson has recently taken people off lines and replaced them with push one button and go! Farming has become precision, computerized, Four men can farm 2,000 acres. The cotton gins are computerized push button operations. People are out of work.
There are jobs out there. Have you tried waiting tables lately? Try living on that. Rent in Sikeston is $300 to $400 a month for a roach motel. But I don't think a person on a fixed income should have two-pack-a-day habit, or a bar tab of $150 a month, or eating in restaurants.
I walk sometimes in all kinds of weather to work in Sikeston from Oran. A job is more important than waiting for handouts. My car is junk; I can't afford better. So when it's down I walk to work. I never miss a day or show up late.
Industrial revolution, Mr. Editor, created more unemployment than the country can stand. Poor people are here to stay, so you can move. Running poor people down won't encourage them to work. It will cause them to dig in their heels.