Snow Clarifies Comment

While I'm sure David Stewart's poem published in your Oct. 21 edition ["Snow in October," Letters, Loudoun Extra] made many like-minded individuals feel much better, I am compelled to point out that the absence of context makes a difference in this situation.

The number of individuals in Stewart's district who wish to control planning efforts in the Dulles District seems to correspond with the number of individuals opposed to my inclusion in the review of the Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan. I bowed to the stated wishes of that sovereign town and withdrew.

My much quoted remark about Canada was only one part of the equation: I pointed out that those who wish to direct issues in Dulles should move in and roll up their sleeves, while those who wish to live in an area with a sparse population should recognize that our area is no longer empty. A truly empty area might serve those individuals better than continuing attempts to deny addressing the very real needs of very real people.

Speaking of Purcellville, I must salute the quoted comments of Robert W. Lazaro Jr. in your article on the town's recently completed open space audit ["Lots, Roads Counted as Open Space, Audit Says," Loudoun Extra, Oct. 21]. This study revealed that homeowners' yards were credited as open space in some plan approvals.

Lazaro, a respected member of the Purcellville Town Council and an aide to Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (I-At Large), hits the nail on the head with his statement, "Intuitively, it just doesn't pass the smell test that someone's back yard would be open space."

This is the crux of the position made for several years now by landowners opposing the revised Comprehensive Plan: Someone's private property cannot be legislated into someone else's "open space." I congratulate Lazaro for stating it so clearly. Perhaps this augers well for the opening of a realistic dialogue on the subject.

Stephen J. Snow (R)

Dulles District supervisor

Veteran's View of the War

The more I learn from books, newspapers and TV about what President Bush claims to have done to win in Iraq and what has been revealed recently by other U.S. government officials, both civilian and military, the more enraged I've become. I am especially incensed about his treatment of our military veterans.

I write from the experience of 24 years in the regular Army, including overseas service in three wars.

Bush committed the flower of our youth, our best and bravest young men and women, to an impossible situation, based upon faulty intelligence apparent before hostilities began and compounded by extremely bad planning. He disregarded the advice of eight military officers of flag rank, including the Army chief of staff, who considered the planning inadequate. He was told from the beginning that the number of troops allocated would be insufficient for the task.

There was inadequate planning for the national recovery of Iraq, leading to civilian massacres and internecine warfare, putting our troops further in harm's way as peacekeepers. Troops were sent into battle without sufficient supplies of armored vests, with some vehicles lacking armor and not enough spare parts for tanks, helicopters and other equipment.

To cap this impossible situation, Bush has appeared on TV claiming that his administration has provided for the needs of the Veterans Administration in taking care of the young veterans returning from war with shattered bodies and missing limbs. Yet, we see these heroes, live on camera, telling of their troubles in obtaining adequate assistance for support of their families and themselves.

How can the VA take care of the veterans and their families when the current budget for fiscal 2005 calls for cutting more than 500 claims processors and does not meet the VA's basic funding requests?

Wars cost money, tremendous amounts of money. Bush took the large budget surplus left by the Clinton administration, squandered it in an unnecessary war on the pretext of fighting terrorism and turned it into a huge budget deficit. A deficit so staggering that he has mortgaged the future of our grandchildren.

How can the American people think of reelecting Bush to be the commander in chief of our armed forces again?

Retired Army Lt. Col.

Claude Bache


Leadership Lacking

Amid endless campaign rhetoric, I search for evidence to "define" George W. Bush's presidency.

First, the preface to the temperate 9/11 Commission report thanks "the families of 9/11, whose persistence and dedication helped create the Commission." The commission was finally authorized Nov. 27, 2002. It is incredible that administration opposition caused a year's delay in searching for the truth behind the terrorist attacks. This is presidential leadership?

Second, 9/11 gave an unprecedented opportunity to unite Americans, but the Bush administration exploited the situation to pursue extreme policies that divided us within and from other countries. If Bush had kept us together through responsible domestic and international action, the current election would be no contest. Instead, half the country is rightfully aroused to defeat Bush.

We are now enduring a stealth reelection campaign, with the real Bush agenda unstated and unchallenged. Loudoun County residents are living with the results of a stealth campaign for the Board of Supervisors in 2003. How many voters would have supported the Republican candidates if they had known that the new supervisors would engineer a hostile takeover of the board and all that has followed?

If Bush neoconservatives win both the presidency and Congress, we will see a further turn to the right nationally, with the wealthy and powerful continuing to be the big winners.

The rest of us must stop them Nov. 2.

David A. Thomas