Nuclear Laundry and Local Health
Thank you for this compelling and critical expose ["Caron Lands on Park Place," February 23, 2012]. I urge you to follow your article above with public education on the medical effects of ionizing radiation and what citizens should know to protect themselves as well as how/when to access treatment. What are the impacts to residents in the area who are pregnant, high risk for cancer, immuno-compromised/suppressed, infants, elders? Were any of these issues raised by the pols and lobbyists that facilitated and profited from the sale of public land to the company? Why are these public health issues not posted? Perhaps Paul Caron would donate a half-page advertisement/public service announcement in the Valley Advocate and the Springfield Republican print editions and websites to educate people on this issue from his generous profits?
I am not suggesting that [UniFirst/UniTech] is at fault or negligent in any way. Your article suggests that the corporation has been a diligent and successful business in the region. Radioactive medical supplies, transportation and waste in our communities are far more common than the average person realizes. Please see Medical Management of Radiological Casualties (www.usuhs.mil/afrri/outreach/pdf/3edmmrchandbook.pdf) for more information. Appendix B has a chart with information on effects of exposure. Thank you for excellence in journalism. Hampden County needs this level of reporting.
Kathleen Conley Norbut
Defense Cuts Threaten National Security
The 2013 Defense Department budget cuts military spending by $487 billion over 10 years, which translates into eliminating six Air Force fighter squadrons, cutting 16 ships from the Navy, and reducing the Army and Marine Corps by 80,000 to 100,000 troops over five years.
Our thinking is that future wars will be fought with more high-technology weapons and fewer troops. The problem is, we could lose highly qualified military personnel because of the cutbacks. The end result could mean we will have a plethora of high technology weapon systems available, but will lack the quantity and quality of non-commissioned and commissioned military leaders to employ the equipment. Another $600 billion in defense cuts could be enacted if Congress does not act to change current laws.
Unfortunately, our military strategy might be faulty. Let's look at a few countries that could be potential adversaries. China has a multi-million-man army and a large air force. It is upgrading its missile systems and developing anti-ship missiles that could threaten U.S. naval forces. It is in the process of deploying two aircraft carriers and building up its submarine fleet. China seeks to dominate Southeast Asia and wants to annex Taiwan. It is a close ally of North Korea.
North Korea has a million-man army and continues to expand its missile capabilities. It poses a threat to South Korea, and maintains a goal of uniting Korea under its domain. It has nuclear weapons and continues to sell nuclear and missile technology to a number of countries, including Iran.
Iran threatens the Middle East region with an aggressive attitude and the potential development of nuclear weapons. It has missile systems capable of hitting targets in other Arab countries, Israel and Western Europe. Iran has acquired some submarines and is building up its navy. It has a close relationship with Venezuela and might want to establish a naval base in that country.
Venezuela threatens South American and Central American countries. President Chavez is friendly with Castro of Cuba, and has developed a military relationship with Russia. He has purchased a significant quantity of arms from Russia and has allowed Russian warships to use Venezuelan port facilities.
Russia is a Communist country that could still threaten world peace. It supports Iran's nuclear program, and it is upgrading its land military forces with the latest weaponry and is refurbishing its navy.
Another concern for the U.S. is the potential rise of radical Islamists in a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. As the totalitarian governments in the region fail, they could be replaced with Islamic forces who might implement Sharia law and who could be antagonistic and possibly adversarial to the U.S.
The weakening of the U.S. military with the proposed budget cuts could embolden potential adversaries to expand militarily in their respective regions. We need to maintain a strong military posture to protect our national security and promote peace in the world by deterring potential adversaries from launching military adventures.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Former Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
More on Guest Workers
I was very pleasantly surprised to read of someone other than myself writing about the lie of H-1b visas ["The Lie Behind Worker Visas," February 16, 2012]. Here in the Springfield area we have many colleges, some of them specializing in technology. Yet corporate America can tell Congress any story it wants to lower wages and our representatives and senators, meaning Democrats and Republicans, are ready to believe their executive contributors over the endless supply of graduates who are looking for work.
Look through the want ads, especially on line. You will find lists of qualifications for positions that no one would have in a million years. Ultimately, through visas or outsourcing, the work will be done by someone who does not have those qualifications. It is a ruse so they [can] tell their less-than-astute congressman that "we cannot find anyone." But he found his campaign contribution.
While our soldiers are dying and being paid peanuts, people of dubious national loyalty are being given strategic positions on nationally important projects.