It's scandalous that Alan Trammell is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I have never seen a better clutch hitter. He could hit, hit with power, field, throw, and run. He was a field manager. His teammates and manager loved him. He did things to help his team win that never showed up as statistics. He was a gentleman. He was a winner. He was Derek Jeter before there was a Derek Jeter. I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in singing his praises.
Keith, you and I have a different attitude about voting for a president. If I think that it "doesn't matter" for whom I vote (i.e., the outcome is destined, irrespective of my vote), then I will totally vote my conscience. But, if I think that my vote may well make a difference, then I vote for the candidate that I think will be superior. I particularly do this if I think that one candidate will be disastrous.
No matter how mediocre Romney may be, I agree with Kevin when he says "Obama is in a league all by himself." Four more years of you know who would cause untold more harm to our nation.
Peg, like every other citizen, has one vote. Is her one vote likely to affect the outcome in a presidential election? No. Here is the closest election in Minnesota history:
Charles E. Hughes (R) 179,544
Woodrow Wilson (D) 179,152
J. Frank Hanly (Pro) 7,793
Allan L. Benson (S) 20,117
Elmer Reimer (InL) 468
Edward J. Meier (Prog) 290
Peg's vote wouldn't have mattered. Sorry, Peg, but if you vote in order to "make a difference," you're wasting your time. Vote your conscience, as I do.
Reading this article reminds one of what people were writing a hundred years ago, just before the outbreak of World War I. After the general European peace established by the Congress of Vienna that ended the Napoleonic wars, many people believed that the progress of civilization had moved well beyond the barbaric practice of large-scale warfare. They had a century of European quasi-peace as evidence. Boy, were they surprised.
It is true that there has been a hiatus in war of the largest scale since the end of World War II. At the same time, my own research suggests that this contemporary trend nests within a larger trend of peace diffusion, war concentration and war aggravation.
Translated into plain English, this means that, over the long run, periods of general peace have become longer and more widespread. When major wars do occur, they are shorter. But in such large-scale wars, casualties have become higher both in terms of absolute numbers and relative to population.
Short-term trends involving fewer large-scale wars are welcome. As they say in the stock market, however, past results do not necessarily predict future behavior. War may appear to be going out of style right now, but over the longer run, styles can and do change.
FRANCIS A. BEER Boulder, Colo., Dec. 18, 2011
The writer is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
To the Editor:
The argument that war is on the wane is appealing, but misleading. Joshua S. Goldstein and Steven Pinker observe correctly that the number of conflicts between nation-states has receded dramatically over the last 60 years, but do not note that they have been more than replaced by civil wars.
And while wars of territorial conquest virtually disappeared over the same period, these, too, were replaced—largely by the many insurgencies and “wars of liberation” aimed at the expulsion of old colonial masters.
Even the superpowers, whose mutual fear of mass destruction kept them from direct conflict, fought for decades through proxies, with the Russians arming the North Vietnamese in the 1960s and ’70s and American arms fueling the Afghan resistance during the 1980s. A result: tens of thousands of American and Russian dead, and more than a million Vietnamese and Afghans, too.
And it is right and necessary to speak in terms of millions dead, as the carnage wrought by war goes well beyond the “battle deaths” to which Mr. Goldstein and Mr. Pinker refer. For example, the recent conflict in Congo saw perhaps five million war deaths, some 90 percent of them innocent noncombatants. By taking a deeper view, we should all come away with a sense of war’s trends as worsening, as posing ever greater threats to the innocent and helpless.
And we should look at ourselves, too. Can we argue that war is on the wane when, just in this last decade, we have invaded two countries and used force to enable regime change in a third? Now we regularly send our commandos and drones to many places around the world to wage a “forever war” on terror.
War on the wane? I think not.
JOHN ARQUILLA Monterey, Calif., Dec. 21, 2011
The writer is a professor of defense analysis at the United States Naval Postgraduate School.
To the Editor:
What is the point in declaring that war is becoming passé when in addition to wars between nations, in recent times there has been tremendous violence by governments against ethnic, religious or political groups, and between groups within societies.
Just during the last 50 years hundreds of thousands of people or more have been killed in conflicts in Rwanda, Cambodia, Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Uganda, Angola and Sudan. This is only a partial list.
With competition for increasingly scarce resources and with the problems created by global warming, there is the danger of increasing violence. To prevent it, humans have to learn to collaborate better.
Dominant groups must stop holding on to their privilege regardless of how other groups suffer, and groups of people must stop scapegoating others for their problems and creating grand ideologies while identifying enemies who supposedly stand in the way of their fulfillment.
ERVIN STAUB Holyoke, Mass., Dec. 19, 2011
The writer is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the author of “Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism.”
Note from KBJ: How long will there be wars? For as long as there are human beings. Only a progressive—that is, only someone who misunderstands human nature—could think that war will ever be eradicated.
Progressives aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. They're good at emoting, but not at cogitating. One of their difficulties is failing to notice relevant differences. See here for a good discussion of one such failure.
I won't vote for (or otherwise support) Mitt Romney. How about you? Please don't tell me that my not voting for Romney will help Barack Obama get reelected. I have a conscience. There are certain things I can't do, whatever the consequences of not doing them.
A local driver’s license and a mailing address do not confer local citizenship; if they did, undocumented workers would swing elections in Texas and California.
Republicans and local officials do not bar students from voting in presidential elections. They insist that students vote in their home districts. Your editorial presumes a conspiratorial political issue where only common sense is at work.
More than the presidency is decided in voting booths on Election Day. Longtime residents of a locality should not be held to the electoral decisions made by students who are, almost by definition, transients.
Should the students of the University of Iowa determine the fate of a bond issue for the people of Iowa City? Should the people of Ithaca, N.Y., have their sheriff elected by students at Cornell? These may seem like minor issues compared with the presidency, but for people in university towns, such bread-and-butter issues may affect their day-to-day lives far more than any presidential election.