6/12 Letters to the editor

Troops at Okinawa should come home
An article in Monday’s CNJ reported how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is meeting with Japanese officials to discuss the deployment of U.S. forces in Japan. As the article pointed out, the Japanese are concerned with, among other things, the continued presence of U.S. forces on the island of Okinawa and the anti-U.S. sentiment that exists there.

Has Secretary Rumsfeld considered how much money he could save the U.S. taxpayers by moving the United States Air Force assets currently stationed at Kadena on Okinawa back to the United States? The F-15 fighters and HH-60 helicopters would be a nice fit for Cannon AFB, and the tankers and E-3 Sentrys could go to Ellsworth AFB, the two bases he plans to close.

The Japanese on Okinawa would no longer have to deal with the unwanted presence of the almost 10,000 American military and Department of Defense civilians, the U.S. taxpayers could save by not having to permanently maintain these forces on the other side of the world, and the communities in the U.S. that depend on Cannon and Ellsworth would not be faced with the devastating economic impact of having these two bases closed.

The current issue of “Air Force” magazine points out that the Japanese air force is the fourth-most powerful air force in the world, behind the U.S., Great Britain, and France. The Japanese navy ranks near Great Britain, and well ahead of any other navy other than the U.S. Navy.

The Japanese can take care of their own defense needs. The level of economic trade between the U.S. and China, as well as most of the other countries in this part of the world, makes armed conflict with them unlikely. The most likely enemy of the U.S. in this part of the world, North Korea, is unlikely to be influenced by the presence or absence of any number of USAF forces on Okinawa.

It’s time to bring these troops home.

Carl Armstrong
Clovis

Citizens should avoid quick judgement
As a longtime citizen of Clovis and big supporter of Cannon Air Force Base, I would like to encourage our friends and neighbors to maintain focus on doing the best we can to overturn the recommended closure of our great air base.

Strategies and processes to sustain Cannon AFB are well under way, even though some may feel left out of those planning sessions. It is so easy to be critical of others or to have negative feelings about who is doing what and for what reasons. Regardless, it appears to me there is a terrific effort being made.

I have been amazed by the outside support that Clovis is receiving from our elected officials including those at the federal, state, and local levels. Not only have the rural communities around Clovis been supportive, but leading citizens in Portales, Amarillo, and Lubbock have been actively involved in overturning a bad recommendation.

In addition, some of our very best local civic leaders, in my opinion, have been involved from the beginning. Those volunteers have taken valuable time away from their businesses and families to meet the challenge.

In summary, let us maintain positive direction and avoid quick judgment about those who are doing their best.

Bill Kinyon
Clovis

Columnist should choose words carefully
In the June 3 issue of the Clovis News Journal, columnist Helena Rodriguez wrote an article headlined “Late-learning Spanish not as easy as ABC.”

I take exception to the opening sentence: “I guess I was destined to learn to speak Spanish late in life like so many gringos.”

The implication in this sentence is that Spanish-surnamed individuals either acquire Spanish or at least some Spanish in some manner not available to non-Spanish surnamed individuals.

Young children “learn” language, their “first” language, as communication within their environment and not as a result of their heredity or genetic code. The acquisition of Spanish (or any other language) as a second language is as difficult for “Fulano de Tal” as for “John Doe” in a non-Spanish speaking environment.

Regarding the use of the word “gringo” in the text of the column, the word is almost never as innocuous as many people think. The word is usually used pejoratively to categorize certain segments of the population of the United States, especially those who are blond and blue-eyed. This word is used more often than not as a term of derision and hate in Mexico and Latin America. The origin of the word is uncertain but interestingly is derived from the long hostility between Mexico and the U.S., especially as a result of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) when the U. S. took two-thirds of the land then claimed by Mexico.

In a multicultural society such as ours, we should refrain from the use of any term that is of an uncomplimentary nature.

As a fluent Spanish speaker, I commend Rodriguez in perfecting her Spanish. It is well worth the effort!

Darwin Simnacher
Clovis

Parents need to take more responsibility
I wanted to comment on Ned Cantwell’s June 2 column headlined “Teachers not substitute baby sitters.”

I was very impressed with the article and wanted to let Ned know how much I agree with him. (He actually read my mind). As a mother and grandmother I get so embarrassed with the way our girls and boys dress. And I was shocked to hear my teenage grandson tell me cell phones were allowed in classrooms. I ask him what teachers did when students’ phones ring and he said, “They tell them to keep it short.” I was appalled at the teacher even allowing calls.

There are even parents who drop their kids off at school earlier than they’re supposed to, and kids left at school for teachers to watch until parents come home from work. This was told to me by a teacher and I witnessed some of it.

I may be from the old school, but it’s never too late to teach good manners to our kids and parents.

So parents, where are you?

Pearl Tivis
Clovis