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Doubting Harris

Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Detroit's sad Gypsies" (Dec. 2), your adoration for Joe Harris is obvious, and a bit overboard. He tries to take credit for predicting the City of Detroit's current economic meltdown.

As early as 2005, then City Auditor General, and I think mayoral candidate Joe Harris was predicting deficits of 200 to 300 million dollars, which is about where we are.

Harris' doomsday predictions were made way before the cataclysmic meltdown of the global economy, which first became apparent to everyone in the fall of 2008. 

So I ask you: If Joe had it right back in 2005, 2006 and 2007, why is Detroit not in worse shape after the real estate bubble burst, and the domestic auto company meltdown? 

I am no particular fan of Detroit's immediate past leadership, but you cannot tell me what it did or did not do led to the current crisis. In fact, what the leadership did was exactly what Washington and Wall Street have been doing to prop up the U.S. economy as a whole during the past year. 

You can't tell me that Joe Harris knew that the American auto companies would be reduced to rubble. That occurrence, along with the real estate bubble bursting has had more to do with Detroit's sinking revenues than anything Joe Harris was thinking about or talking about.

But having said all that, I don't disagree that Detroit is in one hell of a bad situation. But if we do (and I do predict we will) pull through, it probably won't be by listening to Joe Harris.

I'm hoping that President Obama's strategy will succeed in rescuing the U.S. ecomomy (some say it is already beginning to rebound), and that will eventually help Detroit to pull out of its tailspin. —Phil Brown, Detroit


Vietnamnesia

Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Perils of ignorance" (Nov. 18), regardless of the rationale or explanations, this will utterly fail and I feel this issue will be Obama's undoing.

1) Occupiers always go home. Americans are the ADHDs of the world. The Afghans will just wait us out. Those Afghans (including the Afghan Security forces) who support the U.S.-led NATO effort will have hell to pay when we leave.

2) Afghanistan is like no other country. It's all mountainous. You cannot win with troops in that environment … ask the Russians. There are no roads to block, front lines to hold or cities to contain. 

3) The number one export is the poppy. Ordinary farmers grow this stuff. 

4) Although Obama did a good job getting the collaboration of the NATO forces to support his effort (far better than Bush's "go it alone" effort), the real key players and influencers are Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan. 

5) Speaking of oil … oh, well.

Obama should grow a pair, take his medicine and get the troops out now. No more needless deaths of young folks. Concentrate our military and intelligence apparatus on protecting our borders by finding those within and without our country who are intent on doing damage. Redirect the billions allotted for war and design an FDR-like jobs plan for the nation. —Ivory Williams, Detroit


Doesn't anybody get satire anymore?

I got a little ticked reading Larry Gabriel's column this week. While he has good reason to be wary of the perils of widespread gun ownership, the reality of the situation is that living in a society where the power of force is only in the hands of criminals and police is not to the advantage of any individual. This is more so the case in a city where police and fire response is so horrible. 

When I lived in Detroit, I remember waiting three days for the cops to show up for a B&E call. In the city, the individual taking responsibility for his own protection is not a privilege, nor a right, but a necessity.

Larry would have done better for his friend to remind him of the importance of gun safety and basic principles of interaction, such as the non-initiation of aggression, rather than write him off as a gun-toting maniac. —Dan Keizer, Eastpointe

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