McChrystal's Firing, Arizona's Immigration Law, and Pelosi's Leadership

From the general's firing to whether the House speaker makes a good leader

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Petraeus or McChrystal?

Gen. Stanley McChrystal had to be removed [“Petraeus Drafted for New Duty,” June 25]. His comments demonstrated a lack of discipline, not to be tolerated in a wartime commander.  President Obama made a wise choice in Gen. David Petraeus. Petraeus has the knowledge and experience to keep the war effort on target.

JAN HOPKE-ALMER Tucson

Having served with General Petraeus’s father-in-law during World War II in the 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Armored Division, my remarks may be somewhat biased. Yes, Petraeus is the correct choice. After all, he was General McChrystal’s boss. The questions in my mind have me wondering if McChrystal was serving two masters. Although Petraeus was his boss, McChrystal was also reporting directly to the president.

MICHAEL FURLICH South Sioux City, Neb.

The president absolutely did the right thing. Though the situation was different, he did what President Truman did. It was correct then and correct this time. Whether Republican or Democrat, the president is the commander-in-chief and must demonstrate that at all times. President Obama was fortunate to be able to appoint someone with the ability possessed by General Petraeus.

MURTON BROWN Melville, N.Y.

I think that General McChrystal did it on purpose. He was just sick of his boys getting killed and maimed  fighting with both arms tied behind their backs. The stupid rules we have to follow but the enemy doesn’t are insane. Has no one read the book Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence? I certainly recommend it to all, so we would have a better understanding of our enemy. They laugh at us, with very good reason.

KATHLEEN HOLTZER Meeteetse, Wyo.

I think that as commander-in-chief, the president overreacted by relieving General McChrystal of his command. That said, General Patraeus is the best choice available, even if it is less responsibility than he already had. The situation in Afghanistan is very delicate and demanding, an important opportunity to restore freedom and stability to a good country and good people after decades of nothing but violence and war. Despite President Karzai’s opposition, it may require some form of federalization, with more authority and responsibility to elected regional leaders.

LEONARD LLOYD Oakley, Calif.

Arizona’s Immigration Law

I see very little difference between Arizona’s immigration-check law and the laws of other states, such as California’s environmental statutes, that supplement federal laws to enhance quality of life for their citizens. [Editor’s Note, June 25]

JIM ALSTON New Braunfels, Texas

There is a deep resentment among most Americans with the continued flow of illegals across the Mexican border. Americans understand that the vast majority are here to either make a better home for themselves or to earn money that they can send home, themselves eventually returning to their home country. But they can’t ignore the fact that they are here illegally, compete with Americans for jobs, and increase the burden on school systems and other government services. We generously have had at least two previous amnesties, but what country can continue to allow undocumented, possibly criminal individuals to continue flaunting its borders? It’s one thing for our own federal authorities to ignore existing laws in this regard; it’s quite another to actively oppose the efforts of citizens and states to do what they fail to do.

JOE SNYDER Power Springs, Ga.

More border states, such as California,  should do what Arizona did. Unfortunately, California doesn’t have the guts. 

DENIS HURST San Diego

I see only two viable courses of action on illegal immigration: One, get very serious about requiring employers to require proof of citizenship at the time of hiring even temporary workers. That would reduce the major reason for illegals to cross into the United States. Or two, recognize the tacit approval of the status quo, evidenced by inaction for generations, and legalize those working here. Low-wage workers work hard and keep our food costs low. Most pay taxes in many ways; social security withholding, sales taxes, car license taxes, et cetera. We should just get over the fact that they got here illegally.

TOM KARASEK Longview, Wash

The law does not, as you stated in your Editor’s Note, allow “police to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being here illegally.” It’s only after police have legitimate contact with someone for another reason, such as suspicion of a crime, that they are authorized to take any action regarding immigration status.

KERRY DALY Suquamish, Wash.

The people who  have run the immigration departments over the last years should be fired for not carrying out their sworn duty to uphold the laws of the United States and remove all who have illegally entered this country. More money and effort needs to be expended on securing our borders.

GARY LARSON Renton, Wash

I live in Arizona near the border and see the consequences of illegal immigration and smuggling on a daily basis:  destruction of our deserts, home invasions, abandoned pack horses, dead border-crossers, shootouts with law enforcement agents, closed national parks, out of control brush fires, deadly car chases, etc. The people down here are getting desperate and Governor Jan Brewer knows it. Americans have a good sense of right and wrong and they know that the federal policy of allowing immigrants into our country without going through the legal process is fundamentally wrong and unfair. Hopefully, the next presidential election will produce a candidate who has the same intestinal fortitude as Governor Brewer or we will never see this problem end. 

CHRISTOPHER ZIMMERMAN Whetstone, Ariz.

Arizona has the right and the duty to protect it’s citizens from illegal immigrants.  I applaud them.

DeETTE MOON Bartlesville, Okla.

The more an administration feels that one solution fits all, the more we are in the kind of trouble that would be caused by finding one-size shoes for everyone.  This is a reason for more state rights and less federal power. If Washington keeps fighting to impose its solutions to every problem, will the only answer be another American Revolution?

WILLIAM WAHL Westcliffe, Colo.

Arizona Governor Brewer is merely trying to enforce the federal laws that the government is not. The latest news is that the White House is seeking ways to grant amnesty to those already here. This is a blatant move to secure more Democratic voters in complete disrespect of states’ rights. I am getting more and more convinced of the Socialist movement taking over our federal government and this has to stop.

DAN DONAHUE Riceboro, Ga.

The Arizona law is correct in every respect. When are we going to wake up to what is going on in this country and insist that we protect our borders?

JERRY HAGOOD Owens Cross Roads, Ala.

I live in Arizona and, in general, I think our legislature is comprised of a bunch of ideological dunderheads. But as I have considered the magnitude of the problems we have concerning immigration, and the ineffectiveness of the feds in controlling it, I really don’t have much of a problem with the immigration law. Having said that, I strongly support immigration reform patterned on the old Bracero Program [temporary contract workers] of the 1960s and 1970s. We need many of the workers, and I think they would rather live most of their lives in Mexico, coming to the United States only to earn enough to live.

JACK EVERT Oro Valley, Ariz.

Since citizens are not currently required to carry proof of that status, how can someone who is a citizen prove it to a questioning law enforcement officer? And what is the consequence of not having that proof?  Do I, as a citizen, go to jail until the authorities satisfy themselves? The [illegal immigration] issue is begging for a rational policy to emerge, but this law seems to be a desperate and ill-conceived cry for attention.

BRUCE GOREN Los Angeles

The bloated bureaucracy that we call our federal government has become mostly adept at demonstrating its own incompetence. Faced with a real problem, the state of Arizona attempted to wake up the beast. Having been slapped with this effort, our federal government demonstrated that incompetence filters from the top down, overcoming any effort by minor bureaucrats to actually solve a problem for their constituencies. Evidence of this occurred when the Department of Justice announced that they would sue the state of Arizona, rather than enforce Federal statutes already on the books. The hell of the situation is not obvious to anyone in the federal government. Thus is explained the anti-incumbency movement that hopes and prays that the next round of transformational hope and change will occur in our very own federal government, granting us all relief from the madness.

JIM HAMILTON Tulsa, Okla.

It is not only Latinos that are coming across the border, but also terrorists from other countries. I doubt that many of the protesters who don’t live in Arizona are aware of what’s actually going on in that state, and the out-of-state news media certainly isn’t helping. It’s self-defense, not racism. People who haven’t lived under these threats don’t understand the situation.

BOB STEPHAN Pebble Beach, Calif.

I’m in full support of what Arizona’s governor is doing. Being in the front lines of fire with the illegals and problems they are causing Arizona, I say do what you need to do within the law.  

KARL CHRISTIANSEN Highland, Utah

I do not see a problem with the law. It is the law of the land, and Arizona is enforcing it. Obama does not like targeting Mexicans, but they are the ones crossing the border illegally. Mexicans with U.S. citizenship should embrace the law. I hope the reaction of the other states forces a “get tough” policy by the federal government.

JERRY APPELL Palm City, Fla.

The fact that Arizonans even had to consider a law to protect their border speaks volumes about the federal government’s abandonment of its constitutional duties to protect our country. The current administration will not uphold its duties until it achieves its goal of complete amnesty. It appears that its goal is to garner a whole new group of Democratic voters.  Remember the presidential oath of office to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. The first word in illegal immigration is  illegal.

STEPHEN CHILCOTT Hamburg, N.Y.

I do not understand why the Federal government  can decide which laws to enforce when I cannot decide which laws I must obey. I applaud Arizona and hope other states, including mine, will do the same.

MACKY PATTON New Braunfels, Texas

How can it be argued that enforcing our immigration laws, which were created to protect American workers, is “too tough”? If jobs are a “top priority” for the Obama administration, why are the president and the Democratic Congress allowing eight million illegal aliens to keep their jobs while 25 million Americans and legal residents are unable to find full-time jobs? When is the media going to stop writing about the political pandering to illegal immigrants and their advocates as though it is about lending a helpful hand to poor immigrants in search of a better life when it’s really about the Democratic Party doing whatever it can to assure that it becomes the dominant political party for decades to come?

DAVE GORAK LaValle, Wisc.

I would wish that more, or all, of the states follow Arizona’s lead.

CARL MASTHAY St. Louis

Pelosi Not Really Leading

Rep. Schakowsky made some good points about women in leadership, but she lost all credibility with me when she included Nancy Pelosi in her discussion [“Leading the Fight for Women,” July 2]. Nancy Pelosi is neither empathetic nor flexible. Perhaps the governor of Arizona would have been a better example.

PAUL WARD Arlington, Texas

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