Affirmative action delivered Hassan

Yes, we have a weak underbelly.

I agree with columnist Cal Thomas who wrote that we Americans "tolerate virtually everything" in part because we indulge in political correctness.

The U.S. Army now is taking the heat for not seeing and questioning the activities of Major Nidal Malik Hassan before he turned his radical Muslim beliefs into action. He is charged with killing 13 of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.

The roots of political correctness is not something that hit us in the middle of the night, it has been government policy for more than 40 years. After the civil rights movement, our government developed and pushed a program to address "past mistakes" called Affirmative Action. It rolled the dice in favor of anyone who could label themselves a "minority." It gave special consideration to minorities who sought government jobs, admission to military academies and state universities. They were put on the career fast track.

At first, this equal opportunity program was earmarked for blacks, but women quickly claimed their rights, and eventually it included Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and others.

The initial premise to help some of the disadvantaged in society may have been the right thing to do at the time, but, over the years, affirmative action or diversity programs resulted in unchecked control over the workplace and documented cases of reverse discrimination. These racial-based programs have grown and continue to have their "victim-based" hooks in everything the government doles out money to. Many organizations and individuals have no choice but to comply, not challenge the system. To do so would risk the loss of federal funding, job prospects and promotions.

In short, Maj. Hassan is a product of affirmative action. He was accorded special consideration because of his status as a racial and religious minority, and his credibility was further enhanced because he was a commissioned officer and a much needed medical provider. Hassan was able to be outspoken and not be challenged because he knew the system protected him with extraordinary tolerance.

The Army was only following "politically correct" cultural and racial-based policies that have been the norm for too long.

JIM ARWINE,

Garden City

Avoid politics in health care

I say no to a government-run health care. Whether the government directly runs the hospitals or just manages the reimbursement dollars, the government will take away doctor-patient decisions. Pharmaceutical and other medical companies will go to Washington and buy our representatives. It won't matter which drug or procedure works the best or is the most cost effective or what your physician would recommend. All that will matter is which member of Congress was bought and the drug or procedure they mandate with reimbursement dollars stolen from us. We all will still be paying for the health care, but only the care a politician deems appropriate to reimburse will be available.

Imagine in 10 to 20 years when the government has a firm control of our health care. By that time a cure using stem cells for some disease will be available. If the government is in control, it will be decided not on if the cure is cost effective or medically effective. It will be decided by politics. If the Republicans are in charge, no one will get this cure. If the Democrats are in charge, this cure will be the only one available regardless of your beliefs. Your only option will be to accept the government-mandated cure or suffer and die.

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can be trusted with our health care. Both will either force or deny cures to buy votes or get kickbacks called campaign contributions. A culture of corruption exists in Washington that is only becoming more prevalent. Look at Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana who sold her vote on health care reform for 300 million of our tax dollars.

This is a time that we should be discussing removing responsibilities from our corrupt officials in Washington, not giving them more power over us to control our lives. We shouldn't let these crooks in Washington profit off our suffering.

TRACY HENRY,

Garden City