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Support New START treaty, Grassley

My roots are in northwestern Iowa, and I take pride in the common-sense practicality Iowans are known for. This is why I'm puzzled by the lack of support from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, for the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty.

New START would reduce the nuclear-weapon stockpiles of the U.S. and Russia, institute a rigid verification and inspection system, and ensure cooperation between both countries in reducing the threat of proliferation and nuclear terrorism, the greatest threats we face. New START was signed in April, has the support of U.S. military leadership, and received bipartisan support from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September.

Yet the treaty awaits ratification in the Senate and is in danger of being derailed for political reasons, in direct contradiction to the best advice of our military commanders and so many others. As a retired Air Force senior noncommissioned officer, I'm baffled why national security is being put at risk for partisan reasons. Nuclear weapons don't discriminate between political parties or among men, women, or children.

All previous START and nuclear treaties have been ratified by wide bipartisan majorities, and there is no rational reason this treaty should not be as well.

A recent national poll by CNN found that almost 75 percent of Americans favor ratification.

It is time for we the people to speak. I would encourage Iowans to contact Grassley and ask him for the same support Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has given to New START.

Bob Farquhar
Bonaire, Ga., resident

Warm welcome in Iowa City

My wife and I live in Columbus and are avid Buckeye fans. Earlier this month, we headed to Iowa City with much trepidation; this was, after all, enemy territory.

When we stopped to get something to eat, we discovered the Hawkeye Express. And after asking some very helpful Hawkeye fans, we decided it was safe to venture aboard for the ride to the stadium. On board, we met more great Hawkeye fans, learned a lot, and even exchanged a few pleasant verbal jabs.

As we got off the train, several Hawkeye fans passed us and welcomed us to the game, telling us to have a great time. After the game, while waiting for the return train ride, we again met several more very gracious Iowans.

We just wanted to let the University of Iowa know what great fans it has. The university should be very proud of its fans. They made our stay one to remember, and we appreciated their good sportmanship.

Dan Smith
Columbus, Ohio, resident

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