This is in response to Editorial Page Editor Michael Douglas’ May 26 column, “What happened in Benghazi.” Douglas’ article is a whitewashed account that he would have people believe.

He relies heavily on and agrees with Ambassador Thomas Pickering’s report, which came to the conclusion that what happened was the result of failure of management and leadership and there was no way help could arrive in time.

The only person Douglas even suggests for blame for any part of this mess is Gen. David Petraeus, for changing talking points.

If leadership and mismanagement were at fault, who was the leader who did not provide leadership and who was the manager who mismanaged? Ambassador Pickering did not even interview then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was leader and manager at the time.

The attack was in progress when troops in Tripoli were told to stand down, Pickering’s report concluding “there simply was not enough time given the speed of the attacks for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference.”

How does one know, at the time the attack was in progress, how long it will last and that it will be over before the troops can help?

Did someone endowed with the ability to predict the future know when the attack would end with the deaths of our heroes? Who is that someone?

It has been reported for many days that the State Department and the White House had much to do with the changed talking points, and that Petraeus was unhappy with what eventually went out.

So why does Douglas blame him and only him?

Why did the president continue to use those talking points for the next two weeks after the attack? Who should have informed him?

Douglas says that four State Department officials lost their jobs. Does he not know what has also been in the news for many days, that these four employees are still employed by the State Department?

Where are the several survivors of the attack, from whom Congress and the citizenry would like to hear?

The only way to reduce the risk of another Benghazi is to determine what exactly happened and why; otherwise, how do you know what needs to be corrected? How about a search for truth and justice, rather than retelling a story that has lost its legs?

Vijay Rastogi

Munroe Falls

Put energy?into classrooms

I want to bring to your attention an issue that I think warrants some review, as it fails to deliver on its promise and diverts dollars away from the classroom. Since 2007, Ohio requires that new school construction comply with LEED Certification to qualify for state funding.

According to an article, “Green schools: long on promise, short on delivery,” which appeared in USA Today on Dec. 11, 2012, LEED Certification adds to construction costs without achieving the desired goals of running “energy efficiently.” We are just not getting our money’s worth from LEED Certification.

As taxpayers, we expect that our tax dollars will be used as efficiently as possible, and as parents and grandparents, we expect that the bulk of education dollars be directed inside the classroom to produce the best educational outcomes.

Susan Rodman

Cleveland Heights

Lesson plans ?for life skills

I’m a teacher in the Akron Public Schools, and I read the May 28 letter “Lack of dignity and respect.”

The writer began by asking, “Why is it that most things taught in schools and colleges are job-orientated.” My response is, “That’s their purpose.”

If the schools did not prepare our children for good jobs, who would? I would lose my job if I did not teach reading and math and, for that matter, science and social studies.

That is what I was trained to do. If I had chosen to be exclusively a pastoral counselor, I would have majored in that area. Also, colleges exist to teach specific job skills.

The writer says, “We as a society have no tools or teachings that show us how and why we should treat others with respect, dignity, equality, how to settle disputes and how to deal with peer pressure.”

If the writer honestly thinks that’s true, he has not visited a school or talked to a teacher. He’s totally wrong in that regard.

We talk to our kids constantly about pillars of character (citizenship, respect, trustworthiness, fairness and honesty).

We give rewards to children who demonstrate these traits. We have programs about bullying and how to deal with peer pressure.

In addition, many middle schools train peer mediators. These are all important aspects to becoming a happy and well-adjusted person.

The writer suggests that building character is not possible without mentioning God. Aren’t the values listed above the same ones that Jesus taught? While our society might have major problems and may be sick, as the writer says, the schools are not the problem. We can’t do it all.

Karen Fabre


Take steps to halt ?climate change

Climate change is one of the biggest crises of our time. The entire U.S. population is in the line of fire when it comes to the drastic effects of climate change. So why won’t lawmakers address climate change and its effects on our society?

Just last month, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican teamed up with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen , a New Hampshire Democrat, to propose bipartisan legislation that would enact a national energy efficiency strategy.

The legislation would:

• Boost private-sector investment in building efficiency upgrades by expanding the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee program.

• Help manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive by working with states to establish a revolving loan program to help finance efficiency upgrades.

• Provide standards on outdoor lighting, residential heating and cooling systems, residential appliances and other products based on agreements between manufacturers and efficiency advocates.

• Strengthen national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient.

• Require the federal government — the single largest energy user in the country — to adopt energy saving techniques for computers, saving energy and taxpayer dollars, and adopt better building standards and smart metering technology.

This bill would increase the nation’s competitiveness in the global economy, as well as cut energy use and save taxpayers money.

While this would be a great start to legislation addressing energy efficiency and cost reduction, we cannot afford to continue overlooking the fact that many of our leaders on Capitol Hill still deny climate change and global warming.

Without acknowledgement that climate change has catastrophic effects on our society and offering a solution, this bill falls short of being adequate. Portman and Shaheen’s bill only addresses the issue of global warming in the short term, with no real solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that continue to change our climate and the affect our society.

We need members of Congress to accept the reality of climate change and work to address this issue.

Gabrielle Jackson

Copley Township

Policing weight?job for parents

Let’s face the facts, kids are different. At age 6, I was so thin that my parents took me to the doctor for iron shots. I put on weight. I was fat. Now, at age 61, I qualify for my company’s lowest health insurance rates because I work to keep in shape.

Back then, schools were not reporting on my weight. No government agencies were getting information on me from a gym teacher.

So when I see that several states allow this type of information-keeping (always with pressure on the parents to conform), it really makes me think that the apathy that prevents parents from helping their kids stay in shape is that same apathy that allows a private organization (the Institute of Medicine) to shape public policy that allows intrusions into private medical information.

The May 26 article, “Critics worry BMI screenings at school will embarrass kids” had the correct headline, but made it sound as if the Institute of Medicine” (a nonprofit agency) has the importance of a government agency. Its website showing transitional graphs from the 1960s to the present implies that there is a lot of data to support what they want us to hear. There is not.

Its logo, a green serpent, is not the logo the American Medical Association uses, of a serpent on a staff.

Beware parents, it’s your child; don’t allow or give information on your child to social planners who would like nothing better than to issue every meal to your family to control health costs. Don’t use your freedom to give away your freedom. Each child is different and will have cycles that only they and their parents need to evaluate.

Let’s be adults and lead the way for our kids. We have been there; we know the right course of action.

Gary Keasler