A forgotten value
Loyalty. Duty. Responsibility. Selfless service. Honesty. Integrity. Personal courage. These are the values each member of the Army aspires to serve by. Upon reading the front-page story “Generous act leads to more duty” (Aug. 4), I felt it is unfortunate that Army Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor has forgotten the value of selfless service.
The phrase “forcing him to serve” is inaccurate because service in America’s Army uniform has been voluntary since 1972. He could choose to retire after 20 years and begin drawing his pension at the ripe old age of 42 or 43 and remain in Tampa. He could choose to transfer his Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to his daughter, remaining in uniform for an additional 18 months, with the risk of a transfer to a new post. More importantly, he could choose to appreciate the fact that he is privileged to serve his country, selflessly, with pay, a housing allowance, allowance for meals and a generous pension.
Instead, the LTC is acting more like a new lieutenant, whining to the press because he didn’t get his way. The only force missing is his involuntary separation, providing him the opportunity to stay in Tampa while avoiding his service obligation for transferring his benefits.
Scott Harrison, Col., U.S. Army
Violating international law
Regarding Brian Taub’s letter of Aug. 5 (“Israel’s survival,” Your Views): It seems that a thorough review of the history of Palestine is in order, as well as a review of the six U.N. resolutions that Israel is choosing to ignore.
In 1918 Palestine was home to about 1,000,000 Arabs and 40,000 Jews living in peaceful co-existence; 1920 saw the emergence of the Balfour-Rothschild White Paper that provided for a “Jewish Homeland” in Palestine, in direct violation of international law at that time, regarding countries and indigenous populations living under a military “mandate.” This agreement started the fire. In the 1920s and 1930s Eastern European Jews poured into Palestine and started helping themselves to beautiful Palestinian homes, farms and groves. At the point of guns and clubs, and then bulldozers, innocent, naive Palestinians who were depending on Great Britain and the U.S. for protection began to flee north and east. Later, in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and even today, Jews continued to encroach into shrinking Palestinian territory to insert new “settlements” (aka land grabbing, ethnic cleansing, illegal taking, etc.) Since the 1960s the U.N. has voiced its opinion in resolutions prohibiting further activities of this nature. Israel has chosen to ignore every resolution.
Mr. Taub tells us that this latest outbreak is due to “tunnels.” If the American people in any of the 50 states were subjected to 80 years of similar treatment by an illegal influx of any population, you can bet there would be more than a few Scuds bouncing around. Unfortunately, our government seems bent on supporting Israel with billions of U.S. taxpayers dollars, while complaining bitterly when the Israeli press complains that one Israeli soldier has been taken prisoner. Israel will continue to be on the defensive until it returns the lands and fortunes to the rightful owners.
We strongly suggest the maniacs of the Middle East stop using Gaza as a firing range with Palestinian children as targets and cease work on all settlement activities in Palestinian territories, including the West Bank. They are in violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions. They are guilty of war crimes. The U.S. and Great Britain are complicit.
The rulers of medicine
Regarding “Legislators looking to ease pain” (Joe Henderson, Metro, Aug. 6): I empathize with Henderson, and condolences go out for his Aunt Ruth. But suffering with either Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s makes the alternative almost a blessing, not only for the patient, but also for the caring family. The problem with speeding up the research-to-market process is that it won’t matter. Neither Parkinson’s nor Alzheimer’s has effective treatments at this time, and if a drug is being developed that might be effective, it won’t come to market unless the pharmaceutical company can make a profit with it. Otherwise, it becomes an orphan drug — one that remains commercially undeveloped because of limited potential for profitability.
And if there is an effective drug, chances are it’s going to be expensive, thus keeping it off insurance company formularies and unavailable to patients. This occurs every day, in every primary care office, when meds for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol must get “prior authorization” by the patient’s physician. Even if doctors get a “prior authorization” for the patient to receive the drug, it could still be prohibitively expensive. And forget about a Medicare patient who’s in the doughnut hole, although this could be eliminated in the future.
A recent article I read found a doctor having to “prior auth” generic digoxin, a drug derived from the digitalis plant, or foxglove, and first used to treat cardiac conditions over 200 years ago. With the advent of newer cardiac meds, albeit more expensive, digoxin has fallen into disfavor, thanks to the marketing of Big Pharma. Generic digoxin literally would cost the patient pennies a day, but with fewer companies making it — now only two — the price of the generic has skyrocketed into triple digits, thus necessitating the “prior authorization” by physicians.
You can have all the bipartisan round-table discussions you want. We aren’t going to change anything. Insurance companies and Big Pharma continue to rule medicine.
David Lubin, M.D.