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Credit Israeli military for peace accords

As the saying goes, 'No one fears war more than a soldier.' However, like terrorism and the crisis in the Middle East, I doubt Bill McDonald will ever understand either predicament.

In his recent article (Middle East teaches side effects of military terror, Insight, Feb. 15), McDonald excoriates the United States and Israel for aggressively defending their borders. McDonald also implies that recent military action in Afghanistan was only successful in raising terror recruitment. Therefore, the author suggests that America is no safer now than before destroying Al-Qaida's network, since more people hate us as a result of the war.

However, the true nature of the military action inside Afghanistan is to limit the means for terrorists to execute future attacks on America. The United States successfully eliminated training camps, supplies, terrorist cells, safe havens and, most importantly, leadership. Fanatics will always hate the United States regardless of its political decisions; however, as long as they do not possess the means to hurt Americans, who cares?

The reason Israelis cannot reach a peace agreement with the Palestinian chairman is simple. Yasser Arafat realizes he cannot negotiate with terror regimes (Islamic Jihad, Hamas, etc.) that constitute a large portion of the overall Palestinian authority. CNN and other news agencies may be able to label these groups as activists, but let's not fool ourselves.

Furthermore, it's clearly evident that using a strong military to pursue militant groups is effective in fighting terrorism. The United States can learn from Israel's precedent that peace is possible by deterring enemies from attacking. For instance, the reason Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Near East countries signed peace accords is entirely due to Israel's military superiority throughout the region.

1st Lt. Lawrence Fink

Tacoma, Wash.

Future looks more leafy than suspected

Certainly our region Ñ like every other metropolitan area in the country Ñ could do a better job of protecting urban trees. But your article (Urban trees disappearing, Feb. 12) totally missed the point of the report from American Forests that it purported to cover.

First, while dense tree cover declined steeply between 1972 and 1986 in the region the study examined (which extends from Eugene to sprawling Vancouver, Wash.), it has actually increased since 1986, even in the face of rapid growth.

Second, our region is doing better than any of the other dozen or so regions American Forests has studied (including Seattle). The report states: 'Total tree loss É is less than American Forests has found in other regions of the country and urban expansion is measurably less.'

Poorly planned development, wherever it occurs, is anathema to natural resource protection. But to suggest that Oregon's land use laws are somehow to blame for the loss of trees in the region is simply wrong.

Randy Tucker

1000 Friends of Oregon

City needs a better, not bigger, economy

As if 20 years of the first Silicon Forest haven't been devastating enough, why is Portland Mayor Vera Katz so dead set on an economic-growth program to create a second one? (Katz pins city's health on OHSU plans, Feb. 12.)

For sure, that would be great for the managers at Oregon Health & Science University and the deeply subsidized and reckless biotech industry. But it would also draw more people to this already overfull city, jack up our consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, and place more pressure than ever on our neighborhoods, our urban growth boundary and our carbon dioxide-sequestering tree cover.

Does Katz truly want to lift Portland's poor Ñ which is what economic development is for Ñ and at the same time restore its environment and quality of life? Then she must direct more attention to Portland's neighborhoods where the poor live and where the daily choices people make can have lasting positive impact. She must direct declining public resources away from the biotech boondoggle, away from redundant and wasteful global trade, away from recruitment, and toward locally owned, neighborhood-based businesses offering truly sustainable products and services and living-wage jobs at or close to residents' homes.

By engaging in this possible and practical alternative to growth as usual, she will go a long way toward investing in an economic legacy for Portland that is 'better' for Oregon and not merely 'bigger.'

M. Scott Jones

Southeast Portland

Sports could ease up on Blazer coverage

I was really unhappy with the sports section of the Feb. 12 edition. It amounted to no more than a promotional effort for the Blazers, with nearly two pages devoted to either the Blazers or a column on someone in the NBA. I never thought the Tribune would be a mouthpiece for the Blazers. Are there very many people in the area still interested in Bill Russell or Jermaine O'Neal?

It has always been my thought that your sports coverage would deal with local college and high school activities and the more important news on the Blazers. The 'other paper' does a more than adequate job on the Blazers, almost ad nauseam.

Your paper is distributed in the area surrounding Portland. What about coverage on the high school athletic teams?

The sports section does cover a good variety of teams and topics on most days, but please, no more saturation on the Blazers.

Al O'Brien

Tigard

Winning minds, one cynic at a time

I've been pretty critical of the Tribune since you started publishing. I will always be a critical kind of guy, but I've been reading some pretty good reporting in the last couple of issues of this paper, including the story about the Willamette River cleanup (Taxpayers could pay big part of river cleanup, Feb. 15).

Sure, I would like to see more subjects explored, but I find a good variety of coverage in this Friday's issue. I do have to say that I have enjoyed the liberal amount of color photography used since Issue No. 1; that is one feature that I would like to see other newspapers copy.

Bob Reeves

Southwest Portland