Letters to the Editor


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Food-stamp dismay

After reading the story [“Local students write to legislative officials for food-stamp support,”DI, Nov. 15], I was somewhat dismayed. I am a current UI student and work at a local grocery store. I don’t think this group fully understands how foods stamps work and how much they are regulated. I see people all day using food stamps, and the system is grossly abused.

Customers come through the checkout and have carts full of groceries that have enough items to feed two families for a month. Some families get more than $900 a month.

A lot of food-stamp customers eat better than I do, and not only do they have a smart phone, they have a new car and a Coach purse. The food-stamp program is poorly regulated and very abused. Do these students know you can buy pop, chips, candy and even energy drinks? It amazes me that that when they are done checking out, they go buy scratch tickets and a Powerball ticket.

I am all for helping families eat healthily and buying nutritious foods. I am not, however, willing to have Iowa taxpayer money be wasted on junk food. If you want support a program that needs help think about lobbying for the Iowa W.I.C program (Women, Infants, and Children).

This program helps mothers buy good wholesome foods for their child from an approved list. Items include milk, juice, formula, fresh fruits, and vegetables. I do not think that most people know how the food-stamp system works. I know I didn’t until I started working at a grocery store. I invite this group to come to work with me for a day and see the real world.

When they actually see the system in action instead of reading about it in their dorm, they might lobby for a different program, such as W.I.C. I think sometimes we support programs and have no idea how they work, and that is wrong.

Ian Jones
UI student

Israel has right to defense

Several days ago, Israel launched a military operation to dismantle terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, which shares a border with Israel. This operation includes destroying weapon caches, dismantling underground rocket-launch sites, and targeting leaders of Hamas, which is an internationally recognized terrorist organization.

As Americans, we should stand with Israel, our foremost ally in the region, as it seeks to protect its people from terrorist attacks.

Israel’s operation is necessary and important. In 2005, Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip, removing every Israeli from the territory. Through a coup, Hamas quickly gained control of the territory, and has since then used it as a base to launch numerous attacks on Israel, including kidnappings, suicide bombings, and most frequently, rocket attacks.

Rockets from Hamas are paralyzing to Israel. In Israel’s south, residents have a mere 15 seconds to reach a bomb shelter after sirens sound. The rockets indiscriminately hit schools, community centers, private homes, and vehicles on the road. And the rockets are becoming more robust — on Thursday, rockets reached Israel’s largest city, Tel Aviv.

Israel has tried numerous times to stop the rocket attacks. In 2008, for example, Israel launched its Cast Lead operation, designed in large part to stop the rockets. Because Hamas usually fires its weapons from civilian areas, Israel even sent in ground troops so it could dismantle terrorist infrastructure while minimizing civilian casualties. Moreover, Israel has appealed to the international community, including the United Nations and the Arab world — all to no avail.

Nothing is more important than achieving a negotiated peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But regardless of our views on the best way to reach that peace, it’s clear that Hamas’s rocket attacks, targeted at Israeli civilians, are unacceptable.

It fits every definition of terrorism and is an egregious war crime under international law. Hamas doesn’t help the Palestinian cause by waging these rocket attacks. Instead, Hamas deeply complicates — if not paralyzes — any prospects for regional peace.

Dan Garon
UI staff

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